Premier League • England

Everton handed big lift over defensive star but still facing lengthy wait on return

Yerry Mina Dominic Calvert-Lewin Everton August 2021

Everton have been handed a big lift after it emerged that defender Yerry Mina does not require surgery on his injured thigh.

The Colombia international suffered a high-grade quadriceps tendon issue during the Toffees’ 3-1 Premier League loss to Newcastle on February 8.

Centre-back Mina was substituted after 35 minutes at St James’ Park as Frank Lampard’s first top-flight game as Everton manager ended in defeat.

Lampard confirmed an operation is not necessary but expects to be without the 27-year-old player for the foreseeable future.

“He didn’t (need surgery) – we hope that remains the case. So we’re working on the injury now,” Lampard told his club’s website.

“Yerry is here working with our medical team to try to make some early strides and make sure he recovers. Because I know he’s had some repetitive kind of injuries – different injuries – but he’s had his issues.

“I think it’s really important we focus on this one to get it right.

“It won’t be surgery, but it will be a lot of work behind the scenes. Obviously, it’s also quite a long injury so Yerry will need some time mentally to have a breather at times.

Van de Beek buying into Frank Lampard's project at Everton

Donny van de Beek detailed the expectation Frank Lampard has put on him, and is clearly buying into the project at Everton

“We’ll do our best to make sure he comes back and hopefully help to prevent further injuries off the back of it.”

Mina claimed the first goal of Lampard’s tenure, opening the scoring in the 4-1 FA Cup victory over Brentford, three days before limping off against the Magpies.

Mauricio Pochettino or Erik Ten Hag? Which coach looks the best option for Manchester United?

Everton chasing Sporting midfielder

Meanwhile, Everton are still keeping tabs on Sporting CP midfielder Matheus Nunes, whom they reportedly went to scout again last week.

Matheus Nunes was of interest to Everton in the summer, after previous links with Newcastle. The appointment of Rafael Benitez at Goodison Park slowed down negotiations over a transfer, though.

Although they picked their interest back up, a deal could not be done before the summer window closed, nor was it revisited in January.

But, even after Benitez’s departure, Everton are back in the mix to sign Nunes. According to O Jogo (via the Liverpool Echo), they have sent scouts to watch the midfielder in action.

Representatives took in the game between Sporting and Porto on Friday. Nunes played all of the match as one of the central midfielders in a 3-4-2-1 formation.

It was certainly an interesting match. Finishing as a 2-2 draw, four players were sent off deep into injury time after one had already been in the second half. Nunes, though, kept his record clean.

Whether Everton were impressed by his technical performance remains unclear, but the fact they are still monitoring him suggests he could be a concrete target when the summer comes around.

Busy summer expected at Goodison

The January transfer window was a busy one for the Blues, who signed five players for their first team. They will be keen to continue their rebuild by the end of the season, in what will be their first summer with Frank Lampard at the helm.

Lampard could add to his options in his former position as a player, midfield. In that regard, Nunes is someone whom they have had their eyes on for a while. The Toffees could seek to advance their pursuit further.

The 23-year-old has made 37 appearances in all competitions for Sporting this season, providing three goals and five assists. He is under contract in Lisbon until 2026.

Born in Brazil but a thrice-capped Portugal international, Nunes joined Sporting in 2019. But he could soon be ready for his next move. Everton would be the ones seeking to benefit.

READ MORE: Lampard dealt blow as star reveals worrying timescale for Everton return