By Michael Hincks
Who is Marcus McGuane? The ex-Arsenal player following in Gary Lineker's footsteps at Barcelona
Last Updated: 08/03/18 8:54am
Marcus McGuane became the first Englishman to feature for Barcelona since Gary Lineker on Wednesday night - but what do we know about the 19-year-old? Michael Hincks takes a look.
Barcelona beat rivals Espanyol on penalties in the Catalan Super Cup final on Wednesday, with Ernesto Valverde selecting eight first-team players, including Jasper Cillessen, Ousmane Dembele and Andre Gomes.
But Greenwich-born McGuane was among the 12 players selected from Barca B, and the former Arsenal midfielder became the first Englishman to represent the first team since Lineker in 1989 when coming on as a second-half substitute at the Camp d'Esports in Lleida.
But what do we know about McGuane? We examine how he went from Hale End to Barcelona...
Profile: Marcus McGuane
- Age: 19
- Born: Greenwich, London
- Position: Defensive midfield
- International caps: Two for England U19s
A dream come true. Today I signed for the biggest club in the world and tomorrow I start work. What a special day it has been for me and my family. Now I am ready to start this new chapter and challenge🔴🔵 @FCBarcelona @FCBarcelonaB #ForçaBarça #FCBarcelona pic.twitter.com/fHsOb8z6nM— Marcus McGuane (@marcusmcguane58) January 30, 2018
Swapping London for Barcelona
January's transfer window was undeniably an eventful one. With Philippe Coutinho leaving Liverpool, Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan swapping clubs, and Virgil van Dijk becoming the world's most expensive defender, the transfer of an 18-year-old Arsenal player to Barcelona went unnoticed by many.
McGuane moved to Barca B for an undisclosed fee, signing a three-year deal - with an option to a further two years - which features a buyout clause of €25m (£22.4m).
It was a bold decision for McGuane to leave Arsenal, having joined at under-six level, but he has gone on to feature four times for Barca B in central midfield.
What happened at Arsenal?
Available quotes from Arsene Wenger on McGuane are incredibly brief, but highlight the player's versatility.
"McGuane is a defensive midfielder, and overall he can play as a wing-back or even a centre back in training," Wenger told arsenal.com.
As a result, McGuane played both defensive and midfield roles for Arsenal's under-23s this season, scoring twice in nine Premier League 2 appearances.
The former U18s captain also enjoyed all of 12 minutes for Arsenal's first team, having been a late substitute in Europa League wins at BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade, but ultimately called it time at the Emirates on January 30.
It ended a staggering 12-year spell at the club, with reports suggesting McGuane, who was into the final six months of his contract, was holding off on signing a new deal because of the uncertainty surrounding his first-team chances at Arsenal.
At Barcelona, he will no doubt look to learn from midfield powerhouses Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta in the months to come.
McGuane represented the Republic of Ireland at U17 level before switching his allegiance to England.
After eight caps for the U17s and U18s, McGuane featured twice for the U19s last September. An appearance off the bench in the 7-1 win over Poland was followed by a start in the 3-1 defeat to Germany.
With no U19 fixtures on the horizon, only time will tell if McGuane's Catalonian venture proves beneficial for his international career.
What they said
Barca B coach Gerard Lopez told ESPN FC: "McGuane's adapted well. He's doing well. He's a complete player. Perhaps he just lacks that calmness on the ball, that pause in terms or our positional play, but he has everything else we need in the middle of the pitch.
"He's a hard worker, good in the air, arrives in the box from deep. He's already added a lot to the team. I can use him in a lot of positions and at his age, he still has a lot of room for improvement.
"In a short time he has already earned my confidence, and I hope he can become an important player for us."