Player Features

Who is Chelsea Target Marc Guiu


  • Marc Guiu announced himself with a record-breaking, goalscoring debut for Barcelona in October 2023.
  • The teenage La Masia graduate has been described as “a pure centre-forward”.
  • Premier League side Chelsea are leading the race for Guiu’s signature this summer.

Marc Guiu has made a habit of catching the footballing world off guard. Never considered one of the leading lights in Barcelona‘s famed academy, the towering striker announced himself with a goal on his senior debut in October 2023 before skulking back onto the periphery of the first team only to reemerge as a chief target for Chelsea this summer.

The 18-year-old centre-forward was one of the few success stories from a trophy-less 2023/24 campaign for Barcelona. While fellow La Masia graduates Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi stole more of the spotlight, Guiu could be the next teenage talent prised away from Catalonia.

In their never-ending quest to horde all of Europe’s finest young players, Chelsea have singled out Guiu. Here’s everything you need to know about a down-to-earth kid who has taken an unexpectedly quick route to the top.


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Career So Far

Dream debut

Marc Guiu

The rest of the world may have been stunned by Marc Guiu’s match-winning contribution against Athletic Club in the autumn of 2023, but Xavi Hernandez was convinced of his teenage substitute. “You’re going to get one chance,” the Barcelona boss told Guiu before sending him on for the final 10 minutes of a goalless league game, “and you’re going to score.” The then-17-year-old needed just 23 seconds to prove his manager correct.

Scurrying onto Joao Felix’s perfectly weighted through ball, Guiu took a touch to steady himself before opening up his body and tucking his first-ever shot in La Liga underneath Spain’s number one Unai Simon to score the game’s only goal. Unbridled joy washed across his youthful face and a range of emotions gripped Guiu’s family watching on from the stands. While his father bellowed: “That’s insane!” and his mother rocked back and forth in her seat, his sister couldn’t help but laugh uncontrollably.

Aside from Xavi, not many expected Guiu to even be in the position to deliver such a telling contribution. The teenager had been afforded just eight minutes of football for the club’s B team which operate in Spain’s third tier before a glut of injuries forced Xavi to fill out his bench with academy prospects. No wonder Guiu called his debut “a dream you don’t even dream of”.

The Catalan-born forward joined Barcelona’s academy aged seven, debuting for the youth team during the 2013/14 campaign. Guiu’s breakthrough came over the summer of 2023. After finishing as joint-top scorer at the U17 Euros, where a Spain side containing Lamine Yamal were knocked out in the semi-finals, Xavi handed the teenager a brief cameo during an end-of-season friendly against Vissel Kobe in June 2023.

Guiu was limited to just an hour of top-flight football over the remainder of the 2023/24 season following his dramatic debut. For comparison, Yamal – who is 18 months younger than his compatriot – racked up more La Liga starts last season (22) than Guiu made appearances in the matchday squad.

Any minutes Xavi was willing to give Guiu were warmly received. The eager striker came off the bench to nod in a stoppage-time equaliser against Belgian side Royal Antwerp in the Champions League group stages. Guiu wasn’t called up to the first team throughout the final month of the campaign as Barcelona B focused on promotion to Spain’s second tier. The alert number nine directly contributed to four goals during the play-offs but couldn’t help his side avoid defeat in the final.

Marc Guiu’s Career Stats







22nd October 2023




Barcelona B

10th September 2023




Barcelona U19

4th October 2022




Height and Age

18 and 1.87m

Ignoring a player’s height was one of the many revolutionary changes that Johan Cruyff installed at Barcelona after returning to the club as manager in 1988. The club used to have a sign on the wall instructing any scout who was championing a young prospect shorter than 180cm (5’11) to simply turn around. By ignoring physical gifts and honing a player’s technical attributes, Barcelona’s La Masia academy began to produce a string of pint-sized passing maestros. At 5’6, Xavi was a prime beneficiary of this shift in philosophy, but the striker he promoted to the first team didn’t need the bar to be lowered.

Even as a kid in Barcelona’s academy, Guiu was always among the tallest in his age group. By the time he turned 18, the hulking striker stood at just under 6’2 (187cm), making him comfortably one of the tallest players in a typically diminutive Barcelona squad.

Guiu wasn’t even 18 when he scored his first Champions League goal against Antwerp, using his above-average height to rise above the jostling pack of defenders and head in from a set piece. Only 13 players have ever found the net in Europe’s premier club competition at a younger age – a prodigious list which includes some of the best young players in the world, such as Jude Bellingham, Pedri and Warren Zaire-Emery.

Marc Guiu’s Position

Classic number nine

Marc Guiu celebrates his Champions League goal for Barcelona

Guiu may have spent his debut season in Barcelona’s first team with 38 on his back, but he is, in the words of his former Masia coach Ivan Carrasco, “a classic nine”. Lining up as the central striker – invariably flanked by two wingers in the 4-3-3 system which is commonplace across Barcelona’s academy and senior side – Guiu shares the same objective as any traditional forward throughout the history of the sport: score.

When Xavi was asked what aspect of Guiu’s game most excited him, he didn’t hesitate. “Goals,” Barcelona’s former coach answered. “He’s got goals, he’s got that spark. I like him.”


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Style of Play

‘Not the typical Barcelona player’

Marc Guiu battling up front for Barcelona

Guiu has already spent a decade – more than half his life – at Barcelona, growing up in the club’s famous academy, which was home to the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas. But unlike so many of his predecessors, Guiu doesn’t fit the familiar mould. As Ivan Carrasco, one of the coaches who oversaw the robust striker’s development, told the Spanish publication Sport, Guiu is “not a typical Barcelona player”. Carrasco went on to explain:

[Guiu is] a specialist in the area who lives from his physical power. His best virtue is his aerial play. Marc is also very quick and powerful, he is unstoppable with space. He is not a striker who can drop to the flanks or stands out for his combination play, but he is aware of his strengths and limitations and knows how to focus on his strengths and hide his flaws.

During his limited minutes on the pitch, almost a quarter of Guiu’s touches for Barcelona were inside the opposition’s penalty area (24%). By way of comparison, only 18% of the touches starting striker Robert Lewandowski took last term were within the 18-yard box.

Carrasco also hailed Guiu’s willingness to “fight for every ball and press like an animal”. At a time when most of the best teams in the world adopt a proactive approach out of possession, the willingness to press – and the experience of understanding the complicated instructions that underpin any cohesive work against the ball – is key.

Tigerish on the pitch, Guiu is painted as a kitten off it. Spain’s U17 coach Jose Lana was at pains to stress how the teenager had managed to keep both feet firmly on the ground in the wake of his record-breaking debut. “He’s still very polite, a hard worker, very respectful both of the coaching staff and his team-mates,” Lana told FIFA. “He’s great to work with. He can create chances and score goals out of nowhere, and that’s such an important part of football.”

Marc Guiu’s Future

Chelsea are keen

Barcelona's Marc Guiu with a look of anguish

After Guiu marked his whirlwind debut against Athletic with a goal, Joao Cancelo told him that he would have to invite the entire squad out for dinner. Once a look of fear had flashed across the face of a teenager on the modest salary of an academy player, Cancelo put his teammate at ease by letting him know that the affordable venue of McDonald’s would be suitable.

Guiu could soon be in a position to afford a more upmarket restaurant. Chelsea were ‘advancing in talks‘ with the Barcelona prodigy in late June, leading a pack of interested parties. The Catalan giants are in a delicate financial position and are hamstrung by La Liga’s strict economic regulations when offering any member of staff a new contract. Barcelona weren’t even able to immediately register the deal for new head coach Hansi Flick after letting Xavi go at the start of the summer.

La Liga’s runners-up last year reportedly offered Guiu an extension to his contract, which is set to expire in June 2025, but the teenager has yet to accept the terms. Chelsea are poised to pounce on this standoff, taking advantage of the £5m release clause in Guiu’s existing deal to bring him to Stamford Bridge this summer.

The 18-year-old is not expected to be an immediate starter in west London and may not be the only centre-forward Chelsea sign in the window. The club have drawn up a five-man striker shortlist of more experienced options to add some firepower to a side that took fewer shots than eight Premier League clubs last season. As Guiu has proven, he only needs one attempt to find the back of the net.


Chelsea ‘Advancing in Talks’ to Sign Marc Guiu

Chelsea have focused heavily on signing young stars in recent years, and they’re now pushing for Barcelona’s Marc Guiu.

Stats via Transfermarkt. Correct as of 24th June 2024.

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