Yerry Mina’s career trajectory is a stark reminder of the risks associated with judging a player off World Cup performances.
Luckily for Man United, 12 months ago Ed Woodward refused to sanction a £40million deal for the Colombian – much to dismay of Jose Mourinho who had identified Mina as an alternative following a failed pursuit of Harry Maguire.
The towering centre-back had just played a starring role in Colombia’s impressive 2018 World Cup campaign, scoring three times including a last minute header to take the round-of-16 meeting with England into extra-time.
It wasn’t just Mina’s eye for goal that was earning him plaudits on the world’s biggest stage.
The 24-year-old was looking every part like the forceful defender who Barcelona thought they were signing when they plucked him from Brazilian side Palmeiras in a £10million deal in January 2018.
Following Colombia’s shootout exit at the hands of Jordan Pickford, Barcelona recognised an opportunity to cash in on a player whose stock was immeasurably high.
Mina had largely failed to impress in his six months at the Nou Camp prior to the World Cup, but, as is so often the case whenever someone impresses at a World Cup, previous performances were soon forgotten.
Clubs with tunnel vision from what they had seen in the impressive two-week period in Russia were queueing up to take the Colombian.
With Mourinho seemingly in pole position for Mina’s signature, the deal collapsed after United’s top brass refused to sanction the transfer – a move that signalled an irreversible breakdown of trust between the board and manager and would ultimately cost the Portuguese his job in Manchester.
Everton, who had already raided Barcelona for Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes earlier in the window, swooped in to make it a trio of signings from the Nou Camp in the same summer, picking up Mina for £27million.
Following a promising start to life with the Toffees – a Man of the Match performance in the stalemate away at Chelsea in November the highlight, Mina was sidelined through injury for a considerable spell, while Kurt Zouma and Michael Keane struck up a strong partnership for Marco Silva’s side.
The Colombian went on to make just 13 Premier League appearances in his debut season and, according to reports, Everton are already looking to cut their losses on the ex-Barcelona man this summer.
Everton fans will tell you they’ve seen milk turn quicker than Mina.
For a player who on paper looks like an archetypal Premier League centre-back, the Colombian struggled massively to cope with the physical demands of English football – his stark lack of pace proving to be a serious handicap.
Mina continues to be an overwhelmingly popular figure in Colombia and impressed once again with the national team at this year’s Copa America.
The defender was arguably Colombia’s standout performer in their assent to the quarter-finals, before, for the second time in successive tournaments, their hopes were ended in a shootout defeat – this time at the hands of Chile.
In the case of Man United, Mina is one their most expensive dodged bullets in recent years and, if nothing, proves there is some method to the madness of Woodward after all.
It remains to be seen whether Everton will give the Colombian another chance or cut their losses on a player who they forked out almost £30million on just 12 months ago.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
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