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Benitez targeting Man City misfit to stregthen Napoli midfield

| 15.01.2014

Despite costing Manchester City around £16m in the summer of 2012, Javi Garcia has failed to establish himself in a team saturated with big hitters and now it has emerged Rafa Benitez is keen on offering the Spaniard regular playing time at Napoli.

Garcia was brought to the Etihad on deadline day following City’s title win under Roberto Mancini and although he was a regular under the Italian, his prospective place in the City midfield has since been swallowed up by Manuel Pellegrini’s own signing, Fernandinho.

This has led to Garcia familiarising himself much more with the dug-out than the centre circle come kick-off time, where the Spaniard has only begun six of City’s 21 Premier League games to date.

Even then, some of those starts have seen him fill in at centre-back rather than his preferred holding midfield role, monopolised by the Brazilian, giving Yaya Toure the freedom to burst forward at his leisure.

More often than not Garcia has been reduced to coming on in the latter stages of games in which Pellegrini feels he has won, as an insurance policy for the 19/20 title favourites.

Whether or not the 26-year-old is content with his bit-part role under the Chilean looks about to be tested, with Napoli manager Benitez eager to strengthen his midfield options, as he tries to keep his side’s own Serie A title dreams alive.

Napoli find themselves 10 points adrift of relentless winning machines Juventus and priced at 14/1 to claim Italian football’s top prize, despite only losing three league games to this point.

Another Premier League player in similar circumstances to Garcia is Tottenham midfieder Etienne Capoue of Tottenham, who finds himself even further from the Spurs starting XI under interim coach Tim Sherwood, thanks to his preferred 4-4-2 formation.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.