Mika Mármol | Las Palmas

Mika Mármol is on a mission to prove his boyhood club wrong.

Mármol, a 22-year-old left-sided centre-half, is currently thriving in a Las Palmas side that is defying expectations in La Liga this season.

Las Palmas signed Mármol in the 2023 Summer transfer window for a measly 1.9M, after the young Spaniard had impressed in his debut season of senior football in the Segunda division with FC Andorra.

But La Masia is where it all began for Mika Mármol.

Joining as a 6-year-old, the young centre-half progressed all the way through the prestigious Barcelona academy system for over a decade, before finally making his La Liga debut for Barcelona in 2022. His one and only appearance for the Catalan giants.

Barcelona retains 50% of the ownership rights for Mika Mármol, who has already begun showing why the La Liga giants were so keen to ensure they retained the ability to bring Mármol back home in the future.

Las Palmas have surprised viewers in the 2023/2024 season, having been tipped for relegation, they find themselves battling for European places at the halfway point of the season. Not least down to their outstanding defensive record. Only Real Madrid conceded more goals than Las Palmas as of January 2024.

Mika Mármol is a mainstay of this elite defensive unit and a key part of its success.

Despite his age and relative lack of senior experience, Mármol displays a calmness that you often find in players 10 years his senior. He’s not a perfect player, mistakes happen, but rarely does Mármol seem flustered. 

When dealing with crosses or through balls from the opposition, Mármol is not simply looking to clear the danger but to retain possession while doing so. He wants to relieve pressure entirely, not simply delay the issue.

Without enjoying a particularly imposing frame – standing at 6ft tall – Mármol is still capable of battling with forwards and is more than happy to attempt to ride the line between “fair” and “foul”. 

Stats courtesy of Fbref – See the full Mika Mármol scouting report

In possession, Mika Mármol’s composure shines brightly. The young man exudes extreme confidence when receiving and playing the ball. 

Press or no press, it rarely seems to matter to Mármol. In buildup, he is consistently available as an option for his fellow defenders, midfielders, or goalkeeper. 

It’s rare for Mármol to look too far up the pitch when considering his passing options. Most often favouring short, quick interchanges with nearby teammates. Sharp one-touch passing and movement from Mármol and Co. allows Las Palmas to form simple triangles to alleviate pressure from advancing opposition.

If you look at the statsheet, you might see a “safe” player just looking to move the ball sideways, but that simply isn’t the case. It’s sharp, it’s intuitive, it’s effective, and it’s often done under pressure where even a minor mistake would spell disaster.

And, despite the numbers indicating that most of these passes are “short”, the structure of Las Palmas (a very compact side in possession) still means that many of these passes are made through an opposition line.

When the opportunity arises, Mármol isn’t afraid to drive forward with the ball. Even taking on opposition forwards in dangerous areas isn’t out of the question. Marmol will often look to touch the ball forward when receiving to give himself a springboard to progress the ball for Las Palmas.

All in all, Mika Mármol possesses all the hallmarks of a modern centre-half. A defender that is equally as capable on the ball as they are off of it. A player that gives his team a consistent avenue of progression out from the back. 

For that reason alone, it’s no wonder that fans have already started speculating about a potential return to Barcelona in the coming year or two, despite his home club already enjoying a wealth of talent in the position.

But links are starting to form outside a natural return to Barcelona. Sporadic reports have linked Mármol to Atletico Madrid as an eventual successor to Stefan Savic. 

And if the Spanish U20 international keeps up this form, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see links popping up to a plethora of clubs in the coming Summer.

Mármol is under contract at Las Palmas until 2027 and reportedly has a 30M release clause in his contract.