Who is Joan Garcia? The £21m Liverpool and Real Madrid transfer target 'soon' to be Arsenal star

Joan Garcia of RCD Espanyol looks on before the LaLiga Hypermotion match between SD Amorebieta and RCD Espanyol at Instalaciones de Lezama on May 26, 2024 in Lezama, Spain.
-Credit: (Image: (Photo by Ion Alcoba Beitia/Getty Images))

Espanyol star Joan Garcia is the latest name being linked to an Arsenal transfer this summer. Mikel Arteta's priority remains strengthening in midfield, understands, though unique market opportunities could alter plans with a new attacker possibly being signed.

Because of financial concerns, it is unlikely that any marquee deals are sanctioned over the coming months. Instead, it appears Arteta wants to raise the floor of his squad as opposed to elevating the ceiling with his most recent transfer comments hinting at exactly that.

“[We] look again,” Arteta told CNN when asked about transfers. “All the margins, squad-wise, the process that we have at the football club, our methodology, especially on how we can make our players better, more competitive, more consistent and cause them to raise the level and be better than the previous season

“I think our focus has to be with what we have already in house. How can we be better? There are margins and there are players that can still develop and be better and that’s the objective that we have." Despite that, Arsenal have been linked to several players in a number of different positions.

As for the goalkeeping department, with Aaron Ramsdale possibly moving on, Arsenal could be targeting a new shot-stopper. Feyenoord's Justin Bijlow has already been mooted as an option with Espanyol's Garcia, currently valued at €25million (£21.2m), another name linked with Spanish journalist Gerard Romero going as far as saying he will soon be an Arsenal player.

With that in mind, has taken a look at Garcia's career thus far, the latest on his future and what he could bring to Arsenal.

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Garcia's career

Having spent the bulk of his youth career at CF Damm and CE Manresa, he later joined Espanyol in 2016. After spending three years in the academy setup, Garcia made his senior debut with the reserves in late 2019, while his full senior debut arrived just over two years later in the Copa del Rey.

His first La Liga appearance came in January 2022 though he mostly spent the remainder of that season and the following one on the bench. Only in March of this year did his first-team breakthrough arrive where he kept a clean sheet against SD Huesca in Spain's second division.

The 23-year-old then played out the remainder of the season with a further seven clean sheets to his name from 13 games, helping his side finish fourth. As a result of their final league standing, Espanyol achieved promotion through the play-offs following a 2-1 aggregate win over Real Oviedo.

What Garcia has said about future

Given his impressive performances on the way to helping Espanyol seal promotion, transfer interest was inevitable with Real Madrid and Liverpool already being linked to the goalkeeper.

However, judging by his comments, he is focused on the upcoming campaign with Espanyol. “I have always felt the love of the fans,” Garcia said recently. “Very happy that people are with me.

“And for that part (transfers), don’t worry, I’m very good here and above all I would ask you to be calm and encourage us.” Any potential deal would also be complicated by the fact Garcia is in Spain's 2024 Olympics squad with the games not finishing until August 11.

Garcia compared to Raya

Following his first appearance of the 2023/24 season, Garcia maintained an 82.5 per cent save percentage, as per FB ref. Standing at 6ft3ins, he also managed to claim an impressive 2.14 crosses per 90 minutes with a 16.1 per cent cross prevention rate compared to David Raya’s 13 per cent.

As he only played half of a season, with 21 appearances in total, Garcia conceded just eight goals while Raya let in 31 from a total of 41 games in all competitions. In terms of clean sheets, with Raya winning the golden glove, he kept 16 Premier League clean sheets and four in the Champions League.

Meanwhile in Spain, Garcia ensured 12 of Espanyol's opponents, from his 21 games played, did not score.