Reports: Barcelona to finalize deal for Javier Mascherano's replacement this week
Real Madrid were also reportedly interested in the defender
What's the story?
Barcelona's chase for Yerry Mina is all set to come to a successful end, as the Catalans have brought forward their option to sign him in January to replace the departing Javier Mascherano, according to a report in Spanish news outlet, SPORT. The Colombian defender was already set to leave Palmeiras for Barcelona at the end of the season, with a €9 million fee agreed, but the Catalans have been forced to make the move in January by upping their bid to €12 million.
In case you didn't know...
Yerry Mina is one of the highest-rated young defenders in the world, having received offers from the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and AC Milan. He was instrumental in Palmeiras' successful 2016/17 season. In total, Mina has made 35 appearances for Palmeiras, and has displayed a penchant for scoring, racking up 6 goals. Barcelona had already secured first option on the Colombian, with a €9 million fee being mooted at the end of the 2017/18 season.
The heart of the matter
Earlier this day, Palmeiras sporting director Alexandre Mattos confirmed Barcelona's interest, saying "It's true that Barcelona came for Mina with another offer but also that Palmeiras want Mina to stay here. We are going to wait for him to arrive in Sao Paulo and we will talk. If Palmeiras is satisfied with any situation so that he leaves before, we will do it. Otherwise, he will stay with us."
Reports in Spanish radio claim that the deal has been agreed - with Mina set to sign a 5-year contract, with a relatively large €3.7m annual salary (€70,000-a-week). Barcelona will pay €9 million up-front, while the remaining €3 million will be paid at the end of the season. Reports in Colombian media have stated that Yerry Mina will travel to Barcelona for a medical this week, with the Catalans set to announce the signing imminently.
A player of Javier Mascherano's calibre will leave a sizable hole in Barcelona's squad, but Yerry Mina has all the raw materials to be an exceptional defender. With Umtiti out injured, Mina could go straight into the Barcelona first-team, although Thomas Vermaelen's excellent form could offer him a relatively easier path to acclimatize instead of being thrown straight into the deep end.