As someone who grew up watching a lot of Serie A, I have a general appreciation for quality defenders who can put their bodies between the ball and the goal. It wasn’t until I discovered ball-playing center-backs that I realised how special they really are.
Barcelona struck gold with the pairing of Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti. The duo is incredibly talented defensively but is also blessed with the ability to create play from the back.
Thomas Vermaelen is likely to be sold once Clement Lenglet arrives and for good reason. Despite his obvious talents, Vermaelen is unreliable due to his injury record and replacing the Belgian with a solid youngster adds youth and competition to the squad.
Gerard Pique, however, is a polarising figure in world football. There are those who consider him world-class and then those who don’t. He’s a good defender but his inconsistent performances have been costly on multiple occasions. Barcelona need someone who can challenge the Catalan and with Javier Mascherano gone, Yerry Mina could be the answer.
Mina is a physical beast and the fact that he can fill out his frame even further is scary. At 6’5”, there’s no aerial duel the Colombian can’t win. His performances at the World Cup have opened the fans’ eyes on what he can bring to the table. His positional issues are not something that can’t be improved and if coached the right way, Mina can be groomed to take over from Gerard Pique.
Alongside Umtiti, Mina is capable of forming a fearsome partnership that could possibly terrify most attacks in the world.
Yerry Mina deserves to stay at the club and prove his worth next season; a loan might damage the momentum he has gained in this World Cup.
Barcelona’s defensive situation is very good at the moment and having too many good players is always a positive.