Jose Mourinho has been looking very glum in the last few days especially where Manchester United’s transfer activity has been concerned.
Jose Mourinho is adamant he wants more reinforcements if Man United are to challenge their city rivals for the Premier League title this season and it is clear the central defence is an area that still concerns him.
United are still being linked to Leicester City’s Harry Maguire but rumours emerged yesterday that Ed Woodward has contacted Barcelona about the availability of their giant Colombian centre-back, Yerry Mina.
How did he perform last season?
Yerry Mina didn’t actually play a lot of football last season. He played a handful of games for Barcelona towards the end of last season, including their only league defeat to Levante (5-4). He wasn’t in the starting line-up for Colombia’s opening World Cup match against Japan, but then went on to feature in the next three matches.
Using Wyscout, we have pulled some data on these World Cup performances – though there is an inherent risk only looking at three matches (click here to enlarge or on the image below)
The stats above look at Yerry Mina as a complete footballer and if we are being brutally honest, Jose isn’t going to care too much about his skills going forward.
We should pay more attention to Yerry’s defensive contribution.
As you can see, over the course of his three matches Mina only won 26% of his defensive duels. If you think back to the match against England, Raheem Sterling caused Mina many problems during that game. Mina won an average of 49% of his aerial duels in the World Cup, a surprising percentage when you consider the size of the man (6ft 5).
He averaged 4 interceptions over the three matches and 0.27 blocked shots.
Right now, I am not buying Yerry Mina until I have compared him to a current United defender who he could well be a replacement for and another United target in Harry Maguire.
Let’s look at Marcos Rojo.
In fairness to Mina, the data tells us he had a better individual World Cup than Marcos Rojo – so at the right price would Mina be an upgrade?
If we look at Rojo over his Premier League career, was the World Cup a fair reflection on him?
Including the Premier League, Rojo has won more defensive duels in total but the average remains similar. His total of aerial duels won with the Premier League added drops by 10%.
Right now, if I could sell Rojo I’d be spending the money on Yerry Mina. If I could sell Rojo.
What about Harry Maguire?
As you can see, Maguire was dominant in the air throughout the tournament – not that this should be the only way we grade a central defender. He matched Mina on defensive duels, interceptions but made fewer clearances, if that is even something to consider.
Maguire is being touted at £65m, Mina at £35m.
Personally, I believe United would be paying ‘World Cup tax’ on both these players and their values are inflated. There is also an inherent risk on judging Yerry Mina off three OK-ish World Cup matches. With Maguire, you can see a history of playing in the Premier League where has improved each season. Mina must have had something for Barcelona to sign him but as of yet, he has not established himself in the Camp Nou side.
Therefore, such is United’s need, I would expect them to pursue Maguire over Mina and only opt for the Colombian if the Maguire deal falls through.