Premier League • England

Everton lock onto Brazilian star as replacement for top Toffees earner who Lampard doesn’t rate

Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates scoring their third goal with Michael Keane and Yerry Mina - Premier League - Everton v Crystal Palace - Goodison Park, Liverpool

Everton are reportedly set to part ways with centre-back Yerry Mina after enduring a long absence from the first team.

The Colombia international’s four-year stint with the Toffees has been plagued by injuries, recently returning to action after an 86-day absence in a calamitous 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth.

Now, Everton are reportedly set to part ways with Mina, who is the club’s highest earner with a reported wage of £120,000 per week.

And Frank Lampard is already casting  his eye towards a replacement in 26-year-old Udinese centre-back Rodrigo Becao.

Becao has been linked with a move to Everton for a few seasons now, though the Blues will reportedly face stern competition from the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham.

Mina’s injury-plagued stint with the Toffees

Mina signed for Everton from Barcelona in August 2018 as part of the club’s period of big-spending, with players such as Andre Gomes, Richarlison and Lucas Digne all joining the Toffees in the same window.

Ironically, Mina is the only one of the quartet still at the club, after Andre Gomes joined Lille on loan in September.

At times, Mina has been considered one of the best defenders at Everton. However, with him missing a total of 55 matches over the course of the last five seasons… it has become impossible to justify his sky-high wages, especially given the Toffees’ widely-reported financial issues.

Becao was linked with a move to Goodison Park as early as January 2020, but no formal enquiry has ever been launched. Now, the Toffees are once again being linked with the Brazilian as a replacement for Mina, according to Italian source Tutto Udinese.

A solid player, Becao has featured nine times for Udinese this season, helping his side to four clean sheets, as well as scoring one goal.

He also has experience in winning trophies, lifting the Russian Super Cup with CSKA Moscow in 2018.

As mentioned, other interested parties include Arsenal and Tottenham, who are reportedly battling for the Brazilian’s signature for a fee in the region of €20 million. 

Are Udinese willing to let him go?

When speaking about the future of their star players, Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo recently told Forbes: “The goal of Udinese has always been, and will always be, to discover great talents.

“It’s not easy to compete with the biggest clubs for a team with the dimension of Udinese, but we always work and we will work harder to close this gap.

“We are making a great effort in the last few years to step by step to come back to compete with the top clubs, that is the ambition. The short to mid-term goal is to come back to European competition.”

However, the reality of their situation is quite different. As recently as August, Tottenham bought promising young left-back Destiny Udogie from Udinese before then loaning him back to the Italian side.

Ultimately, losing a player of this calibre does not fit in with Pozzo’s narrative and may give some hope to Frank Lampard as he looks to bolster his defence.

If Everton do secure Becao’s signature, he will face some tough competition from the likes of Conor Coady and James Tarkowski who have enjoyed a decent start to their career at Goodison Park after signing in the summer.

However, with Michael Keane and Mason Holgate also looking like they may depart the club in the near future, Becao could be an important acquisition, especially given the Toffees’ current form which sees them just one point above the relegation zone.

If Everton want to avoid another nerve-jaggling end to the season, Becao could potentially be the difference between relegation and survival.

READ MORE: Fear of Tottenham, Chelsea raid prompts Everton to battle with two Prem foes for impressive Ligue 1 signing