Profiled: Celtic 'target', Barcelona defender Mika Marmol

By Euan Davidson

May 27, 2021

Put your hands up if you’d heard of Celtic target, Barcelona B defender Mika Marmol.

I am seeing no hands. That’s fine; for those who aren’t au fait with Spanish reserve football, Marmol won’t be a familiar name. However, those in the know at Barca have high hopes for the versatile Catalonian defender. Celtic are facing competition from Getafe and Mallorca, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Predominantly a left-back, 19-year-old Marmol is a left-footed defender who can play on the flank or in the middle. He’s a favourite of Barcelona B coach Javier García Pimienta, having played over 2000 minutes of football across 25 appearances in 20-21 [Transfermarkt].

According to Mundo Deportivo, that versatility has come in handy. Marmol has played “14 times as a left-back and 11 as a centre-back, on the left-handed side of the Blaugrana [defence]”. Interestingly, he’s signed the same agency as similarly adaptable Catalonian and Spanish talents, including Sergi Roberto and Cristian Tello.

Capped 5 times by Spain’s U20 squad, Marmol is used to playing with older talents. It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the Barca youngster, though. According to Blaugrana website Barca Universal:

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“After leaving Barça, he moved to Jàbac i Terrassa, where he played with boys one year older than him. Following a sensational campaign with them, he signed for the prestigious CF Damm, where spent most of his years during his stage of development.

“In his first year as a Cadete, however, he decided to return to Jàbac, where he played his best football and completed a spectacular season that allowed him to draw Barça’s attention again.”

Mika Marmol of Spain U20s / (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Barcelona youngster wanted by Celtic: where does he fit in?

Surely on the verges of the first-team, Marmol’s situation is an interesting one. Talents like Oscar Mingueza, another home-grown defender, made 27 La Liga appearances this season [Transfermarkt]. It’s not like it wouldn’t cost Celtic, either, with the defender’s contract reported to run until the summer of 2023.

So, would this be a development project of a signing, or someone who can come into the first team straight away? My guess would be the former, and not the latter. Interestingly, despite being able to play in the middle of defence, Barca Universal describes him thusly:

“As a natural left-back, he continuously contributes to attack with his forward runs and, mostly, his pinpoint crosses. When he is in a static position, he’s able to raise his head, pick his target and deliver an exquisite cross with his delicate left foot.

“That precisely is one of his main strengths: he doesn’t need to be in motion to create danger, which he combines with a great creative output.”

That’s exactly what Celtic need. At 19, he’s still a very raw talent, though. More than that, Barcelona will need to ease in a Jordi Alba replacement before too long, and the Barca B star sounds perfect to take the mantle. Given the success of Barcelona B stars over the last 15 years or so, this isn’t a club who sells prospects haphazardly.

Marmol might be a long-term answer for Celtic. But, more pertinently, he could be the same for Barcelona. They may be in dire financial troubles [Forbes], but selling a potential first-team player for a couple of million could end up costing them more in the long-run.

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