Chelsea were closing in on deal to sign Barcelona star before last-minute offer from La Liga giants - Reports

Chelsea manager Maurico Pochettino (left), Barcelona boss Xavier Hernandez
Chelsea manager Maurico Pochettino (left), Barcelona boss Xavier Hernandez

Chelsea were reportedly close to snapping up 19-year-old Senegalese centre-back Mikayil Faye from NK Kustosija before Barcelona beat them and Genk with a late offer.

Faye appeared 14 times for Croatian side Kustosija last season across competitions, bagging a goal and an assist. That, coupled with his impressive exploits for Senegal's youth teams, caught the eye of European bigwigs Chelsea and Barcelona.

The Blues have undergone a massive overhaul this season, spending nearly £450 million on mostly young players. They were on the cusp of adding Faye to their ranks, as per SPORT (via Barca Universal).

Mauricio Pochettino's side were preparing the documentation to sign the young defender when Barca stole a march at the last minute despite their precarious finances. The Blaugrana had received a good report on Kaye from their African scout Moussa Kone and decided to snap up the player.

Faye was part of Barca's first-team training in pre-season and travelled with them to the US. He has made two appearances for FC Barcelona Athletic but is expected to break into Xavi's first team soon.

Interestingly, Faye moved to the Camp Nou despite both Chelsea and Genk offering him more first-team minutes and a superior economic proposal.

How have Barcelona and Chelsea fared this season?

Barcelona and Chelsea have had contrasting starts to the new season. While the Blaugrana are unbeaten in four league games and are third in La Liga, the Blues have won one of their four outings and are languishing in 12th in the Premier League.

Xavi's side opened their title defence with an ill-tempered goalless draw at Getafe, where both teams finished with a man less and Xavi also saw red. The Blaugrana, though, bounced back, beating Cadiz 2-0, winning 4-3 at Villarreal and beating 10-man Osasuna 2-1 away.

Meanwhile, Pochettino's expensively assembled side stuttered to a 1-1 home draw with Liverpool before losing 3-1 to a 10-man West Ham. They beat newly promoted Luton Town 3-0 at home and League 2 side AFC Wimbledon 2-1 in their Carabao Cup opener.

However, they slumped to a 1-0 home loss to Nottingham Forest to drop into the bottom half of the Premier League table.

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