Bengaluru FC's winger Edu Garica completed a move to Chinese club Zhejiang Lucheng on February 23. The 27-year-old, who came up through the ranks of Spanish club Real Zaragoza, had joined the Indian Super League (ISL) outfit on a one-year deal in September 2017. He had made his debut for Albert Roca's side in the league tie against Mumbai City FC in November 2017.
Garcia has now left the ISL league leaders and completed a move to China. Zhejiang Lucheng, also known as Zhejiang Greentown, are currently playing in the China League One, which is the second tier league in China below the cash-rich Chinese Super League.
The Spaniard's move to Zhejiang Lucheng also created a history as Bengaluru FC becomes the first Indian side to raise money from the sale of a player.
A statement on Bengaluru FC's official website read, "In what is a landmark deal in Indian football, Bengaluru FC have reached an agreement with Chinese League One side Zhejiang Lǜchéng for the transfer of Spanish winger Edu Garcia for an undisclosed fee, the club announced on Friday."
"The deal makes Bengaluru FC the first Indian club to earn a fee from a foreign club for the transfer of a player," it added.
The Blues have reached an agreement with Chinese League One side Zhejiang Lǜchéng for the transfer of @Edu_Garcia90. The landmark deal makes the Blues the first side to receive a transfer fee from a foreign club. We wish Edu all the best! #GraciasGarcia https://t.co/eYj05pxAsv— Bengaluru FC (@bengalurufc) February 23, 2018
Roca thanked Garcia has for services to the club and wished his compatriot all the best for the new venture.
"Edu has been a thorough professional during his time at the club and he was presented an opportunity that seemed right to say yes to. His contribution to our season so far has been very valuable and I wish him the best," BFC manager told the club's official website.
Bengaluru FC COO Mustafa Ghouse was delighted to have completed the historic transfer, which according to him, suited all the three parties involved in the deal.
"It was an offer that worked well for the club, Edu and Lǜchéng. It's also a matter a pride that the deal is a historic one in Indian football and that Bengaluru FC is involved in it," Ghouse said.
"Edu has been fantastic for us in the short time he has spent at the club and we thank him for his contribution while wishing him luck for the future."
Who is Edu Garcia?
Garcia was born in Zaragoza and had a brief spell at CN Helios Fútbol and UD Amistad during his childhood. He later moved to Real Zaragoza's academy at the age of 12 in 2002. After spending the majority of the remaining decade with his hometown club, he was promoted to their B team in 2009.
The winger spent three seasons with Zaragoza's B team, but struggled to break into their first team. After rejecting an opportunity to sign a new deal, he left La Romareda and moved to CD Ebro, who were then in the fourth division of Spanish football.
A year later, manager José Luis Loreto left Ebro and moved to SD Ejea and the wideman followed his coach to the new club. However, things did not go as per his plan and returned to Ebro in 2014.
After spending two seasons with them, Garcia was re-signed by Zaragoza in 2016. However, he struggled to impress, despite getting regular playing time. In September 2017, ISL side Bengaluru FC signed him on a one-year deal.
After impressing for the Indian club, Garcia attracted interest from Chinese club. Luchéng is managed by former Barcelona left-back Sergi and the 27-year-old will play under his compatriot at the Hangzhou Huanglong Stadium.
Garcia will be hoping a move to the Far East will help him revive his career. A further improvement in the second tier of Chinese football could help him seal another transfer to the Chinese Super League or return to Europe in the future.