Advertisement

Who is Mikayil Faye? Barcelona defender linked with Liverpool and Man Uted transfer

Mikayil Faye center-back of Barcelona and Senegal during the warm-up before the LaLiga EA Sports match between Cadiz CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla on April 14, 2024 in Cadiz, Spain.
-Credit: (Image: Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Given the state of near-perpetual apparent crisis at Barcelona, most of its recent wonderkids have been linked with a transfer away at one time or another. Generally, after a period of apparent uncertainty, bumper release clauses are put in place and a line is drawn under the story — but things might be different in the case of Mikayil Faye.

Read our latest Liverpool transfer news after Alisson receives 'monster' Saudi offer

Known to many as 'Mika', the defender differs from the likes of Pedri, Gavi and Lamine Yamal in that he is yet to make his senior debut for Barcelona. And the 19-year-old is being tipped to go straight from the development side to Liverpool or Manchester United.

Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo also credits Arsenal, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich with an interest in Faye. But who is the teenager, and why might Arne Slot want to make him his first signing?

READ MORE: Liverpool transfer news LIVE: Benjamin Sesko competition amid Man Utd 'fight' for Goncalo Inacio

READ MORE: Alisson agent already gave clear transfer verdict as Liverpool set for 'monster' Saudi offer

First of all, it's worth remembering that it will not just be Slot calling the shots this summer. Joining as a 'head coach' rather than manager, he will work in collaboration with sporting director Richard Hughes, who in turn reports to the returning Michael Edwards. And from what we know about the data guru from his first spell at the club, Faye could tick a lot of important boxes.

Given his age, Faye clearly has huge potential to grow. If anything, Liverpool would typically move for somebody a little further along the developmental scale, with more senior experience to their name — but every top club is now on the lookout for young players in this bracket, meaning Edwards may need to tweak his filters a little.

And Faye, who is left-footed, has gained valuable experience since moving to Barcelona from Croatian side Kustošija last summer. He has been in and around the main squad, being named to the bench against Cadiz in April, and has featured 33 times for the 'B' team.

On the international stage, he has been recognized with a senior cap for Senegal, which came in March and was marked with a goal. Given his development, he has been left disappointed that no chances have been forthcoming at Barcelona, opening the possibility of a transfer.

At the moment, Faye is juggling multiple things. He is away representing Senegal again, but could return to play a part in the promotion playoffs, as Barcelona B looks to reach the Spanish second tier.

But as things stand, he is minded to leave the club. Should Barcelona sell senior center-backs and open up an opportunity with the first team, he may end up staying, but Faye himself might be viewed as the ideal 'lever' to relieve financial pressure on the Catalan side.

Liverpool.com says: Faye clearly feels ready to play at a high level. While Liverpool couldn't guarantee him starts either, there's a good chance he could get minutes over the course of a campaign set to have more games than ever due to an expanded Champions League format.

Only time will tell whether this has the familiar ending, where the promising talent ultimately remains at Barcelona after all. But it also wouldn't be the first time a young player left a big club to pursue more opportunities, and ended up making the original side regret the sale.

Left-footed center-backs are also always a valuable commodity. Liverpool will eventually need to devise a Virgil van Dijk succession plan on the left, and Edwards could like Faye's profile in that regard.