Everton’s Director of Football Marcel Brands has denied any knowledge of Manchester United’s interest in Yerry Mina, suggesting it was fabricated by Barcelona in an attempt by the Catalans to receive a better deal.
The Colombian, who impressed over the World Cup, was reportedly approached by Man United after deals for Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire both stalled.
But United’s apparent interest faded as quickly as it emerged, with Everton eventually completing a deal – worth €30m – for the defender on deadline day.
And Brands has noted he had no knowledge of United’s interest, suggesting it could have been fabricated by the La Liga champions in order to speed up a deal for Mina.
“No, no, it was really simple behind the scenes,” he said.
“I put the offer in and Barcelona asked for a totally different amount that we would never have paid. Then they said: ‘OK, we will wait until the end of the market’.
“We never changed our offer. That was a bit of a gamble because everyone was writing about Man United [wanting Mina] and Barcelona used that, agents used that, everyone used it.
“I don’t know exactly if Man United were in. The player said constantly to me: ‘I want to go to Everton’.
“That was a great thing for us but you never know if Man United comes in and offers an extra £150,000 a week – every player would like to do that. I don’t know exactly the situation with Man United but of course Barcelona used it. They said to me: ‘Man Utd are coming in’. I don’t know if they did but I took a bit of a risk with that.
“That’s why we were also keen on back-ups, you never know, but after the weekend before the market closed I had a confident feeling about it.”
We will never know for sure if there was genuine interest in Mina from United. What we can know for sure, however, is that these dirty tactics – of fabricating interest from big clubs to force genuinely interested parties to pay more, precluding them from conducting the deal on their own terms any longer – have been employed as an almost sacred tradition in transfer windows.
And Barcelona, as things go, are one of the worst when it comes to dirty transfer tactics. They had to sit out of two transfer windows because of how they signed Neymar. Atletico Madrid recently threatened legal action for their approach of Antoine Griezmann. Chelsea backed away from them over a deal for Willian.
Perhaps United should think twice about engaging with Barcelona over Paul Pogba – regardless of how much they offer.