MX23RW : Wednesday, June 12 21:21:54| >> :120:3676:3676:

Liverpool 'join Manchester United, Arsenal in race for Barcelona teen'

Liverpool 'join Man United, Arsenal in race for Barcelona teen'
© Reuters
Liverpool reportedly join the race to sign 19-year-old Barcelona centre-back Mikayil Faye, who is also on the radar of Arsenal and Manchester United.

Liverpool have reportedly joined several fellow European heavyweights in the race to sign a promising teenage Barcelona defender.

Nineteen-year-old Mikayil Faye is yet to make his senior debut for the La Liga champions since arriving from Croatian outfit NK Kustosija last summer, but he has excelled at youth level.

Proving himself as a goalscoring threat from the back, Faye has found the back of the net four times in 27 appearances for Barca Atletic this term and has recently gained matchday experience at first-team level.

The 2004-born centre-back has been an unused substitute in three of Barcelona's last four La Liga contests, and he scored on his first appearance for the Senegal national team in a 3-0 friendly win over Gabon last month.

Indiscipline has slightly blighted Faye's first season at Barcelona, as he has already been sent off twice while playing for the youth team, but he is nevertheless considered a top prospect for the future.

Barcelona coach Xavi on April 10, 2024© Reuters

Barcelona have already turned down one Faye bid

The 6ft 1in defender is contracted to Xavi's side until the summer of 2027, and Barcelona apparently inserted an astronomical release clause of €400m (£345.1m) into his agreement last summer.

However, recent reports have claimed that Barcelona could accept a fee below £20m for the 19-year-old this summer given their need to raise funds, putting a plethora of continental giants on red alert.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Liverpool are the latest team to show an interest in signing Faye, who was reportedly the subject of a rejected €9m (£7.8m) bid from an unnamed club in January.

The Reds will have to jump through several hoops if they are to bring the Senegalese youngster to Anfield, though, as Barcelona sporting director Deco has apparently assured his agents that he will be given first-team opportunities next season.

In addition, Liverpool are supposedly one of just seven teams bidding to sign Faye, who is wanted by Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as Bayern Munich, Lille, Monaco and Nice.

Four defenders could leave Liverpool this summer

Liverpool's Joel Matip receives medical attention after sustaining an injury on December 3, 2023© Reuters

Whether Barcelona's promises of first-team football come true for Faye next term remain to be seen, but Liverpool have prided themselves on handing minutes to academy talents during Jurgen Klopp's farewell campaign and should continue with the same youth-driven vision when the German departs.

Among the fledgling prospects to enjoy regular opportunities this season is centre-back Jarell Quansah, now an understudy to Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, although the latter is out of contract this summer and recovering from an ACL injury.

Klopp hinted after Matip's season-ending diagnosis that the Cameroonian's stay could be extended, but as things stand, he might be one of four Liverpool centre-backs heading for the exit door in the coming months.

Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips - still heralded for their 2020-21 exploits - have endured a series of mixed loans and seemingly have no future at the club, while Sepp van den Berg has already admitted that he may need to consider an exit.

As a result, bolstering the rearguard is one of Liverpool's top priorities for the summer window, although finding the right man to step into Klopp's boots is still top of the agenda.

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