Barcelona have been dealt a potentially fatal blow in their bid to sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia this month.

Garcia has been strongly linked with a move back to Barcelona having come through the club's La Masia academy before making the move to City in 2017.

But his return to Camp Nou looks to be off the table for the January transfer window following a significant development in the presidential elections at Barcelona.

Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa were all set to go head-to-head in the club's election on January 24 after the race was whittled down to three earlier this month.

And all three are keen to bring Garcia back to the club, but the date of the election has now been pushed back to March 7 due to coronavirus restrictions in Catalonia.

One of the candidates, Font, said on Friday after meeting with the acting president Carles Tusquets and the other candidates: "What I defended - elections with maximum participation - was guaranteed.

"The two priorities we now have to work on is how to broaden the voting stations and the vote by mail.

"We have to reassure Barcelona fans - all the decisions that the board make will be done with consensus."

It's now thought Barca will have to wait to make any signings until the summer when Garcia's contract at City comes to an end.

Manager Ronald Koeman recently said: "The best thing would be to get a president in place as soon as possible because it would give us negotiating time," the Dutchman told a news conference ahead of Saturday's La Liga meeting at Granada.

"In the short time, it's important that we get some reinforcements in because we want to improve the squad. We need to be more effective and increase competition for places.

Manchester City shrugged off the difficulties caused by a Covid-19 outbreak to sweep aside Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

First-half goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne effectively ended the match before the break with the home side only able to score a consolation in injury time.

It puts the Blues in good heart ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

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"There's many reasons to make signings, but I also understand the situation the club is in and if we can't make any signings then we'll wait for next season."

Garcia has made just 16 league appearances for City since his 2017 move and rejected a new contract ahead of this season.

But it seems his return to Barcelona will have to wait for now with no incoming president until March and very little spare cash at Camp Nou.