It’s a no-brainer for most fans. The 6 foot 5 man oozes confidence and class, is excellent in the air from set pieces (Gylfi Sigurdsson will already be licking his lips), and as a centre-back, Yerry Mina is not just confident taking the ball forward but has the control of many top-level midfielders.
However, a punt on the Barcelona man is a great risk, and Everton can’t afford to make much more of them, following the first-season failures of Davy Klaassen and Sandro, both of whom arrived to great expectations from fans and backroom staff alike but failed to live up to the hype.
Extensive scouting on the player will have been difficult as he has only made six appearances for Barcelona, and signing a player based on the World Cup hasn’t always proved the brightest idea. Mina got a lot of games under his belt in South America, but it is unknown whether Marcel Brands was an admirer at that time, while the latter was at PSV.
Early words to a Spanish radio station from his uncle and agent, Jair Mina, expressed his nephew’s desire to stay at Barcelona, and a reluctance to move on after just a few months. This is his big chance after all, and he is unwilling to give it up after shining in the World Cup as well as coming away as his country’s top goal scorer as a centre-back. A move to Goodison Park may not be what the player wants, and Everton is a club where the fans demand a certain level of passion for the club from the players.
Yerry Mina is by no means an orthodox central defender. In fact, he is unlike any central defender many fans have ever seen before. ‘Willing to take risks’ was also one of the phrases mentioned about recently-departed Ramiro Funes Mori, and that one wasn’t a great success.
On the other hand, Yerry Mina appears to have something special. For Barcelona to use two of their precious three permitted non-EU registered signings (as per La Liga rules) on one day by signing Mina alongside Philippe Coutinho, they must have seen something special in the former Palmeiras man.
From watching Mina play for Barcelona during the limited playing time he was afforded – after finding himself below the excellent Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti in the Camp Nou pecking order – the best way I could describe the Colombian is ‘if Paul Pogba was a centre-half’. Despite making a few mistakes which I put down to rust and settling in, I’m sure most Evertonians would take that for the rumoured £21 million, despite his €100 million buyout clause.
The 23-year-old is ready to shine on a regular basis for his club, but Barca manager Ernesto Valverde has a huge decision to make on whether to afford him that, ahead of the class he already has to choose from. Valverde already had to get rid of one of his three non-EU registered players in Paulinho, who was strong in midfield last year but had to be moved on back to China to accomodate the arrival of new signing Arthur in his position, central midfield. The three spaces are now taken up by Mina, Arthur, and Coutinho (Uruguayan Luis Suarez applied for Italian citizenship through his partner, Sofia Balbi).
So why would Valverde get rid of one now, especially one of the world’s brightest young defenders? The answer could be in Barca’s interest in Willian, after they made a second bid of around £53 million. To sign Willian, another non-EU registered player, one of the aforementioned three would have to make way, and Mina would be the only realistic option for Valverde to dispose of.
In addition, Barca have just signed Sevilla centre-back Clement Lenglet for a fee of around £32 million, considerably more than they paid for Mina in January. That would potentially put him even further down the pecking order, and could mean Barca are readying themselves for his exit.
Any potential move would be a risk from Marcel Brands and Marco Silva, but Yerry Mina would undoubtedly add the confidence to Everton’s defence that they were so sorely lacking at times last season. It’s a yes from me. What do you think?