The unusually busy winter transfer window for Barça just got a little more so with the official announcement of the transfer of Colombia CB Yerry Mina.
His buyout is 100m on a five-year deal, and the fee was just under 12m, an absurd bargain for a player who comprises a no-risk transfer for the club.
For the unfamiliar, Mina is best described as a Pique/Umtiti hybrid. He can range forward on attack with the ball and was a key builder from the back for his former club, Palmeiras, as well as in his role with the Colombian national team. He is 6’5″ tall, which makes him the tallest player on the roster, but he has real hops, unlike the second-tallest, Pique, who is an inch down on Mina.
For a tall man, Mina is quite agile both with and without the ball at his feet, and he fast became essential for both Colombia and Palmeiras. The first rights were grabbed by Barça a couple of years ago, and the club paid a slight premium over the 9k buy-in to have the player move right now to replace Mascherano, who will be joining the Chinese League for a season, before returning to Argentina to retire. This was a scouting transfer, locking the rights down before Mina became one of the most exciting young CBs in world football. So pretty sure in the voodoo transfer economics world, the bulk of Mina’s cost has already been accounted for, making him in this window, effectively a 2.8m buy.
He is 23, continuing the transfer trend of making Barça younger.
Mina is a powerful header of the ball, and scores goals from set pieces. His hops coupled with his height let him get over most balls, which will make those crosses into the box suddenly viable now that he’s in the colors. He also wins balls with very well-timed tackles, facilitated by his loooong legs, and is a very good passer who understands angles and how to create space with the ball.
People who know South American football and have seen Mina play, are characterizing the deal as “theft,” which is accurate. Mina was 1 million just over a year ago, but he was also a huge risk. Now that he has proved himself, the premium is less of a risk, never mind that 12m is no money for a club such as Barça.
Like any player, Mina has deficiencies. His ultiamte durability is in question, and he has positional issues related to his ability to reach in and win balls just from leg length and physicality. Liga attackers will take him apart if he relies on that tendency too much.
He is also a bit “colt unbound” with the ball, even as that forward-ranging quality will work well as part of the rotation CB tandem of Tom and Yerry. Mina is an RCB, which the club doesn’t really have in a natural state beyond Pique.
This is rare to say, but there are zero down sides to this transfer. If Mina doesn’t work out, something that would be surprising given his work ethic, he can be sold for more than the pittance the club paid for him. Even if he becomes pretty good, he’s still useful to the club, never mind if he reaches the level his huge talent hints at. As noted in a previous post, it’s a transfer that excites me as much as Coutinho.
As with any transfer it will take some time for Mina to assimilate, so expectations should be tempered, even as defenders have an easier assimiliation time at Barça than attackers.
Next up will be making moves to get players out of the club. In the rumor mill are Deulofeu (to Napoli), Rafinha (to Inter), Turan (to Turkey) and Aleix Vidal (to Sevilla.) Mascherano’s deal is already finished, the Argentine leaving for 10m. There is also a rumor that Gomes has asked for a transfer, which doesn’t make a great many people happy to hear (if true), but there ya go.
The Neymar money, combined with other sales already made (Tello, etc.) means that the club is, even with the big deals it has done, under a 100m outlay for the season. In an ideal world, the four players on the block would fetch another 50-60 in addtion to the 10m from the Mascherano move. Would be excellent business, no matter how you slice it, while also getting some hefty salaries off the books.
The business that the club has done also makes the “Griezmann for 100m in summer” rumors seem not quite so far-fetched. Time will tell but for now, look forward to Mina’s official debut, as an exceptional young CB joins the fold.