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Everton make contact for Colombian defensive midfielder

Toffees’ South American scouting is on overdrive

Colombia v England: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Wilmar Barrios already channeling his inner hatred for the Reds
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

If Everton were only signing Wilmar Barrios just to troll Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson then most Blues would take him aboard quite happily. If the name doesn’t quite ring a bell, he’s the anchor that weighed down the lumbering English midfield. Oh you mean Barrios? That’s the guy that gently headbutted Henderson only to see him going down like Neymar.

However, the defensive midfielder is a more-than-decent player in his own right which could also make this a worthwhile signing if the reports from Argentina are to be believed.

Barrios was part of the Colombia squad that was eliminated from the World Cup by Jordan Pickford and the Three Lions, but the midfielder’s real claim to fame is the nickname he has gotten himself playing in Argentina for Boca Juniors - ‘El Kante Colombiano’ - a tip of the hat to one of the Premier League’s best players N’Golo Kante who was a cornerstone for World Cup winners France this summer as well.

The 24-year-old player moved from Colombian side Deportes Tolima for a mere €2.6m but instantly made an impact in the Argentine Primera Division. He’s featured in 46 games over two seasons for Boca, making his name with his tough-tackling, no-nonsense ball-hunting style. He’s been one of the midfield pillars for both club and country on a consistent basis over the last two seasons, picking up 13 international caps along the way.

Tottenham Hotspur were already linked with the player even before the World Cup and his legend has only grown since then. Mauricio Pochettino’s Argentinian links are well-known and he was reported to be considering him as the replacement for Moussa Dembele, so the player’s pedigree is in no doubt.

While Everton have their own version of Kante in Idrissa Gueye, the Blues are looking to replace the aging Morgan Schneiderlin in front of the backline and Barrios seems tailor-made for that role.

The report goes on to add that he has committed to stay with Boca through the first half of the coming season due to their Copa Libertadores qualification, but with a release clause of only €18m, the Blues can pre-sign him this summer with the player coming over to Goodison Park in the January transfer window.

Barrios has said that he would like to help the club through till the end of the calendar year -

“It is possible that an offer may come and President Daniel Angelici has been clear, if something arrives it will be analyzed and the idea is that I will leave after the Libertadores.

“Today I have my mind set on Boca, on working and on helping the team for what is coming, then let’s see what happens. to meet with my representative and the President.”

Here is an additional link to a scouting report with some good information on the player.