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BARCELONA: Colombia centre-back Yerry Mina joined Barcelona from Brazilian side Palmeiras on Thursday on a five year contract for a fee of 11.8 million euros ($14mn), the Catalan club announced.

The 6ft 5in (1.95m) 23-year-old is set to fill the void left by Javier Mascherano, who is on the verge of a 10mn euro switch to China’s Hebei Fortune.

“Yerry Mina now comes to Barca with the opportunity to continue developing as a footballer following his move to Europe. Without a doubt the Colombian has the potential to make it,” Barcelona said in a statement on their website.

The Colombia international has made 33 appearances for Palmeiras over the last two seasons, helping them win the league title in 2016. He also won the Copa Sudamericana with former club Santa Fe.Mina will be Barcelona’s second signing of the January transfer window after Philippe Coutinho’s 160 million-euro capture from Liverpool. He has a 100mn euro release clause attached to his contract.

Barcelona had a deal with Palmeiras to bring Mina in the middle of the year for about 9 million euros ($10.7 million), but agreed to pay extra and advance the deal because of the recent injury to France international Samuel Umtiti.

With Mascherino set to leave and Umtiti widely reported to be in talks with Manchester City, Barcelona had faced being left with only two recognised centre backs in Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018

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