Hello, Yerry Mina, aka “No dancing!”

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.

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In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

27 Comments

  1. georgjorge
    January 11, 2018

    Thanks a lot for the heads-up on Mina, Kxevin. I knew nothing about him, and now I’m rather excited. Only, I have this weird image of Brad Pitt in uniform in my head, telling me that “if a thing sounds too good to be true, it ain’t”. ; )

    If the team doesn’t lose against Real Sociedad this weekend, they have gone an entire ronda without losing a game. Very impressive. Coutinho and Démbéle can use the comfortable points cushion for an introduction with less pressure, as you said.

    Now onto the Celta match, which – whoever wins – will surely be exciting on both ends of the pitch!

  2. Justice love
    January 11, 2018

    Indeed the president and the board has a very good plans for our dearest club and Mina welcome to the club who teaches football like you are in the lecture room listernin to the professor on your favorite course. With dembele and Messi dribbling on the pith makes barca so sweet to watch them. Let’s us also not forget Mr. valverde , he is genius coach.

  3. Jim
    January 11, 2018

    Great first half. Only slight worry is Pique. I thought I saw him hold his hammy quite high up early on and thought I was mistaken when he played on but I see he hasn’t come out for the second half. Hope it’s nothing major.

  4. Lionel Richie
    January 11, 2018

    Ill miss the shit out of you Mascha!
    Barca was lucky to have had you.
    You are a true example in commitment and professionalism.

    #BOSS

  5. georgjorge
    January 11, 2018

    That was an extraordinary game. Celta is a good team always being able to challenge Barca, but it was over after half an hour. Sure, the first three goals were pure genius from Alba and Messi, but the whole team was on another level today. Very lucky being able to watch all this live.

  6. January 11, 2018

    I had a feeling Valverde was working towards something special but today was just wow. This was a good team that we absolutely dessimated today. They didn’t stand a chance. It wasn’t even remotely a competiton.

    Messi was Messi and never ceases to amaze but the whole team impressed. Gomez and Rakitic both had excellent games. Gomez in particular is starting to display his value. He does nothing spectacular, but he doesn’t t have to. Like Rakitic and Paulinho he does his job and he does it well.

    With the return of Dembele and the addition of Coutinho and Mina, dare I say we might have not just the best team, but the beat squad now too?

  7. Deep0812
    January 12, 2018

    Hmm, I’ve been thinking the same thing but was too afraid to say it out loud lest I jinx something. Also, I want to give the strongest eleven a chance to play as a unit before I make the call. In my opinion, the strongest eleven are:-
    Ter Stegen (GK)
    Roberto Pique Umtiti Alba
    Busquests(DM)
    Iniesta Coutinho
    Messi
    Dembele Suarez
    This the squad I find the most intrigued to watch however Paulinho has earned his place in the eleven as well so he may be brought on in the second half to rest Iniesta and completely change the dynamic of the team as well. As the other subs, I would have Semedo, Rakitic, Arnaiz, Digner, Vidal, Cillesen and Vermaelen. That still leaves Mina and Rafinha and Alcacer who I also want in the team but I had to make a VERY tough choice so I chose based on playing time with the squad and in Arnaiz’s case La Masia bias (this one’s for the future and the hope of the development of a strike partnership with dembele when the Magician and Pistolero stepdown ) Alcacer however has been a consistent performer and has one of the best conversion rates and goals per min ratios on the squad. Digne and Delboy need to up their game and I hope they do. Gomes I hear has requested a transfer and Turan seems close to be transfered out as well. That Imo is no huge loss but if GOmes is transfer coincides with Rafinha’s rumoured loan to inter then that might be problematic. The playes I hope we buy in the future are Nabil Fekir, Dries Mertens, Timo Werner, Danny Rose, but the world cup may reveal exciting non european prospects as well.

  8. squeen
    January 12, 2018

    Great cup match. Funny it has taken this long for Alb and Messi to connect. Fun! Suarez was brilliant and Demebele was a treat to watch too. Rakatic is becoming a second Busquets—nice to see. I am also starting to warm up to Semedo as his foot-skills improve (although I still prefer Roberto on the pitch), and as Kxevin pointed our in a previous article, Vermaelen is the real-deal.

    Now to vent some spleen!

    Gomes is low and plodding. He gets away with it due to his physical size—but it holds up play as he turns his back and repeatedly bounces off defenders shielding the ball. He has slow reflexes (misses passes both receiving and sending, no tiki-taka gene) and doesn’t really suit Barca’s style at all. The slowness is also fairly hopeless in converting through ball in front of the goal, and his crosses are without a clear target—I don’t think he has very good field-vision (most the time his head is down). Luis Enrique was way off about his potential, his brain and nerves are just not wired right, and that is never going to change. Really a very bad investment, and I will be relived when he is shown the door.

    There. Now I’ve got that out of my system.

    I watched some hightlights videos of Mina, and was uncertain. Still, Pique needs a successor, so “fingers crossed”. A low risk deal, as Kxevin so astutely points outs.

    • Dar_vincy
      January 13, 2018

      Agree with your submission on Gomes. Spot on.

  9. ooga aga
    January 12, 2018

    Copa del Rey quarters

    barca-espanyol
    Madrid-leganes
    Sevilla-atletico
    Alaves-valencia

    Coulda been worse. Will be interesting to see who joins us and Leganes in the semis.

    In other news, surgery for Samper today, estimated out for 4 months.

    • Bruce Wayne
      January 13, 2018

      I see what you did there…

  10. eldiablo4
    January 12, 2018

    Kxevin, do you really think Greizmann is needed or is a smart buy? Also, what are your thoughts on the Brazilian Arthur we’ve been linked to?

    • squeen
      January 13, 2018

      I watched some highlight clips of Arthur too, and I know nothing really about his vision or playmaking….but (damn!) there is a striking physical resemblance to Xavi in the way he dribbles while evading defenders. I haven’t really noticed that from anyone else.

      Just saying….

  11. TITO
    January 13, 2018

    What hapened to the surgery Suarez had to go through? Wasnt that a necessity couple of months ago?

  12. georgjorge
    January 13, 2018

    Wait…what has happened to RM? One point from the last three games they played, and seemingly unable to score against decent teams now? If Sevilla were in better shape, they would be under real pressure to stay in fourth.

    • Jim
      January 13, 2018

      Wow! Zidane’s coat is shoggling ever more precariously on its hook now . . . Didn’t see the game but I’ve been totally underwhelmed by their attack this season and then there’s Ramos of course.

    • Víctor
      January 14, 2018

      Apparently the 3-0 beating at their home made more havoc in their team than we expected. Perhaps they are mentally wrecked.

  13. Jim
    January 13, 2018

    I think the club originally thought it would probably be necessary but were reluctant to upset anything as we were playing well. Uruguay didn’t think he would need medical intervention and did their part by not calling him up. Section from their press release

    “FC Barcelona plans … to treat him medically and physically, with a break from physical exertion and competitive action for one week, starting on November 5.“

    Apparently he had a special training regime as well and it seems to have worked as after the break he reported that he was suffering less and less pain. Since then he seems to have had no problems and you can see his mobility has greatly increased ( as well as his goal tally ! )

    However, he has left it hanging slightly in that he has said if the pain comes back he’s not going to play through it again and will need the surgery. While we’re on the subject I take it there has been nothing about a possible injury for Pique ? I thought he was holding his hammy early in the first half ( about 11.10 if you have it recorded). If not, it looks like EV has just decided to take advantage of the score to rest him. Thanks goodness for that.

    • January 13, 2018

      EV said that Pique felt some minor discomfort so they didn’t want to risk him but that he is fine.

      • Jim
        January 13, 2018

        Thanks.

  14. PPos
    January 13, 2018

    Alright boys, let’s pop the champagne and celebrate de end of Arda Turan at Barcelona!!! What a useless purchase. Luis Enrique was really bad at transfers. All of his requests have either underperformed or slowed down the team. Gotta say not sad to see Turan go. He was basically just a passerby cashing a fat check doing nil.

    There’s rumors that Andre Gomes might go as well. I know I was very critical of him last season, but he’s shown me this season that he really wants to play and is starting to look looser more at home in the system. If he improves his goal scoring, I think he should stay but he might not because he wants more playing time to make the Portugal WC squad.

    Aleix Vidal has improved substantially because he’s been played in his natural position of Right Wing, not Right Back. He was never a RB. He’s terrible at defending, both one on ones and in the air. I think he might leave for Sevilla. Not really sad either.

    Rafinha seems to going to Inter. Good for him, he’s just been unlucky and its not looking like he’s going to be able to crack our midfield right now, specially coming back from injury. I say we insert a buy back option, because he’s always given everything he has and should be reward.

    Deulofeu- turned out like i thought he might, A flop, once again. I had hopes for him, but he just didn’t turn that into results. Arnaiz is ahead of the pack of him right now and he wants to play in the WC so he’s gonna go.

    Mascherano. what a warrior. I will miss him dearly and will never forget how he slid Lord Bendtner from the back against Arsenal in the CL and saved our skin. He’s always been a loyal servant and I wish him the best.

    Look like we are revving up the kitty for a Griezmann buy in the summer. Man that would be fantastic. Our squad would be adding true quality and most important. Reducing the average age of the squad and creating competition within the squad.

    I dont know what’s going on in Madrid but I dont really care. the Felizidane is over and I hope he gets sacked.

    • georgjorge
      January 14, 2018

      I agree with pretty all of your player evaluations. We definitely need one or two backup midfielders, squad players who don’t look bad when they get called up to sub for Busquets or Coutinho or Iniesta. Denis Suarez seems best suited to me, plus there’s always Sergi Roberto if Semedo can played more often. Which doesn’t leave room for Gomes, Rafinha, Turan etc. unless they are prepared to spend most of their time watching the game from the bench.

      Defense, midfield, attack – if Coutinho can really fit into the team, then all of these areas have great depth at Barca. What joy!

    • Víctor
      January 14, 2018

      Luis Suarez, Ter Stegen, Denis Suarez, Paco Alcacer, Samuel Umtiti, all of them were transfers during Luis Enrique’s time as Barcelona coach. I don’t think that any of them were bad transfers.

      Sure thing, not all transfers during Luis Enrique’s time were good, but that’s how it is in football. Not even Pep Guardiola, Ferguson or Mourinho have a perfect record of successful transfers.

  15. Lionel Richie
    January 14, 2018

    Am I the only one that thinks Griezmann is no better than Paco (who we already have)

    • georgjorge
      January 14, 2018

      Griezmann is definitely a lot better as a forward. He’s not playing very well right now, but I guess that is connected to his uncertain future at the club. The question is if he’s the right forward for playing against parked buses (as opposed to playing for a more defensive and counterattacking team like Atleti), which Barca has to do a lot.

  16. georgjorge
    January 14, 2018

    Ok, first to get it out of the way – Sociedad were robbed of a goal today, the one where Rakitic went down without any contact before the ball found the net. However…

    The curse of the Anoeta has been reduced to one half only ; ) Real Sociedad were brilliant there, ran circles around their opponents and combined like Barca at their best. But they could not keep it up a whole game, and when Messi is motivated and Suarez has his scoring boots on, it’s incredibly hard to keep them out. Talk about a team not interested in losing or even drawing a game!

    Did I really think about Suarez being past it (two stunning goals today) or Paulinho being a waste of money (eight goals in the league already, more than any RM player) at the start of the season?

    Only small negative: I really believe we are seeing the best Andre Gomes has to offer to this team. He’s better than he was last season. But it’s not enough, he’s just not on the same page as the players around him, and I’d rather have these minutes taken up by Denis Suarez or – when Semedo is fit again – Sergi Roberto.

  17. TITO
    January 14, 2018

    An absolutely phenomenal response to Anoeta curse. We had to win eventually. After a strangely dubious performance in our back, we really showed some character and used our chances.
    Who would have thought in the begining of the season that we will go half a season without a defeat.
    Amazing, just amazing.

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