Funes Mori: Barça and Chelsea talk is just rumours

by | 24/02/2016  51 Comments  [Jump to last]

Ramiro Funes Mori is reportedly being watched by other clubs but his focus is on continuing to bed in at Everton.

Plucked from the relative obscurity of River Plate in his native Argentina, the defender was signed by Roberto Martinez last August for a 9.5m fee that initially raised eyebrows among Evertonians and football observers alike.

It was a record fee paid by the club for a defender but the 24-year-old is already justifying the outlay with a string of impressive performances, first alongside John Stones and now Phil Jagielka in the heart of the Toffees' defence.

Funes Mori has settled in so seamlessly over the past six months that he has given his manager a selection headache now that Stones is fit again following a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

The Argentina international got the nod ahead of the Englishman in the FA Cup tie against Bournemouth last Saturday and he rewarded Martinez with another solid display.

And it's those accomplished displays that have apparently attracted the attention of scouts from Barcelona and tipped representatives of Chelsea off that there could be another potential John Terry replacement at Goodison Park apart from Stones, the player Jose Mourinho tried to prise away last summer.

Barça already have people at Goodison watching the progress of Gerard Deulofeu the Spanish giants have a buy-back option for the winger and that has led to media reports that they're eyeing Funes Mori as well.

The centre-half has dismissed those suggestions for now, even if he admits that there was similar talk regarding Everton before his move to Goodison Park eventually happened. He also reveals some continuing homesickness being away from his beloved River Plate.

"Chelsea and Barcelona are rumours," Funes Mori says in an interview with Cronica in Argentina."When someone brings that up, its because youre doing well. When I was at River, there was a rumour that Everton wanted me and it happened.

"I'm enjoying this moment, thoughbeing far from family and with another culture is not easy. I try do my best for Everton, who gave me the confidence to come to Europe. It is a very fast and demanding league.

"Roberto Martinez gave me a lot of confidence. His style of play gave me confidence. You always have to respond well, here they will not forgive you if you mess up, youmust be vigilant."  


Reader Comments (51)

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Oliver Molloy
1 Posted 24/02/2016 at 19:15:36
Keep your head down and keep improving Funes Mori.
It's nice to hear you are enjoying life at Everton.
Brian Porter
2 Posted 24/02/2016 at 19:50:34
Ramiro has rapidly become one of my personal favourites, simply because of his attitude, his will to win and his scoring capability. It's been a while since we had a who could score on a fairly regular basis. I hope the club tell Chelsea the same as they did when they came trying to unsettle Stones. FFS, we only have three senior centre-backs so we sure as hell don't want to lose one now we actually have some real cover in the position.

In fact, if it came to a choice I'd keep Funes Mori rather than Stones because for me, he's the better defender of the two. We don't need the Cruyff turns and pretty stuff from our centre backs. The last few games and nice clean sheet have shown what out best back four should be, except maybe Baines for Galloway when fit.
Paul Kernot
3 Posted 24/02/2016 at 20:32:22
The home sickness thing is a recurring theme with Ramiro. Can't see him going back to South America but if a genuine offer comes in, Spain might be more attractive than England.
James Stewart
4 Posted 24/02/2016 at 20:34:29
@2 I think you might be right could see him moving to Spain.
Clive Mitchell
5 Posted 24/02/2016 at 20:52:39
He deserves huge credit for what he's done so far. Fantastic attitude, always gives 100% and makes good decisions. Definitely a cult hero in the making. Really hope he stays for many years.
Martin Mason
6 Posted 24/02/2016 at 21:09:28
Ridiculous wages and good location like London overcomes any home sickness. Another good example though of Everton's ability to pick up bargains even though some complained at the time.

I really don't think he is Barcelona quality but maybe he is? Spain is the obvious destination for him because of the language. Much easier than scouse.

Phil Sammon
7 Posted 24/02/2016 at 21:18:42
He speaks fluent English, Martin.
Declan Campbell
8 Posted 24/02/2016 at 22:01:20
That is two Everton centre halves now linked with Barcelona. If Everton's players were half as good as the rumour mill makes out, they'd be running away with the league.
Nick Armitage
9 Posted 24/02/2016 at 22:09:51
Home sick for South America?

He lived most of his life in the USA.

Michael Penley
10 Posted 24/02/2016 at 22:47:01
"Here they will not forgive you if you mess up" - I think Mirallas can attest to that. Roberto still hasn't forgiven him for missing that penalty he robbed from Baines.
Peter Laverty
11 Posted 24/02/2016 at 23:00:46
Where are all the whining pessimists who said £9.5 million was a waste of money?
Jon Bentley
12 Posted 24/02/2016 at 23:01:16
Michael... But he seems to be able to forgive Howard though?!? Go figure!!
Lyndon Lloyd
13 Posted 24/02/2016 at 23:13:59
Nick (8), he can be homesick for his family, friends and hometown club, though, which is what comes across in these comments and that previous interview where he suggests that he left River Plate too soon.
Vince Furnier
14 Posted 24/02/2016 at 23:36:51
Until we start winning things, this kind of speculation will always surround our team.
Anthony Dwyer
15 Posted 24/02/2016 at 23:58:47
Funes Mori is doing well but a move to Barca seems a little OTT ATM

He's only just starting to stake a claim in our defence. Maybe after another season in the Premier League with the Blues pushing on, then maybe he may become a target.

But for me I think any potential suitors will firmly have their eyes on Stones, despite TW fans recently hammering him.

Ray Smith
16 Posted 25/02/2016 at 00:49:27
What are you guys on about?

Give him some credit! He's settled in well and the rumour mongers start talking to the future.

Get a grip, he's only just arrived and he's off to pastures new???

I despair at some of the negative comments I read! Let's have some positivites.

Waiting for the backlash!!!

Garry Corgan
17 Posted 25/02/2016 at 01:37:18
Ffs, a dozen half decent performances and Barca and Chelsea are being mentioned. I wish I could do a few months hard graft and get the same recognition in my industry.

Reminds me slightly of Fellaini. He and his agent father continuously talked about the interest of the 'big clubs' until one of them bit.

Harold Matthews
18 Posted 25/02/2016 at 03:10:40
Good job he's not in the Forces where he might be posted abroad for 2½ years with no chance of flying home in the summer and no visits from the family and girlfriends. Like other TWs, I speak from experience...

Jeeps, in those days, you couldn't even phone. When I got back my girlfriend was engaged to another bloke.

Duncan McDine
19 Posted 25/02/2016 at 06:59:32
He's done pretty well in his first few months of Premier League football, but the talk of Barca must be utter bollocks. I can see Chelsea sniffing after him though; no disrespect to Funes Mori, but that's the level they're at right now.

Unless he makes a big fuss about wanting out, I think we'll keep him. No-one would realistically offer more than say 㾻-20m even with next season's inflated prices (TV deal)...

So it's still John Stones and Lukaku who I feel would be the more likely departures.

Rob Hooton
20 Posted 25/02/2016 at 07:09:20
Harold, I remember keeping in touch with my Dad using the 'Blueys', those letters were the only way to hear from each other. Homesick, my arse! Soft lads these days...
Paul Andrews
21 Posted 25/02/2016 at 07:40:19
Give the lad a chance.
He gave an honest interview.
Thomas Surgenor
22 Posted 25/02/2016 at 07:57:17
Lyndon (#13).

I interpreted those comments about leaving River Plate as he should've stayed for the World Club Cup. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him to play in that competition.

Jim Bennings
23 Posted 25/02/2016 at 08:12:49
Can't a player be allowed to play for a few months at a club without the usual mundane speculation of one of the biggest (Barcelona) or richest in Chelsea's case, apparently sniffing around him?

Players can be good and do well without necessarily being at a glamour club but the media seems intent that nobody is allowed to be anywhere but...

Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 25/02/2016 at 09:16:21
Funes Mori is not perfect but he is very good and will get better. I wish every Everton player played with the same commitment and intensity as him, we'd be a much better team. He's one of the few who attacks the ball in both penalty areas.

As for the transfer speculation, the future will take care of that situation, but there is no doubt his performances are bound to attract other clubs.

James Hill
25 Posted 25/02/2016 at 09:24:10
This guy is the real deal. I watch the South American football it is way underrated compared to the Premier League.It's tough and uncompromising and has loads of skill.

I believe he is better than Stones and is a better defender alongside Jagielka. For me, Stones would be better in front of the back four, a bit like Carrick. £50 mill? Not yet.

Brent Stephens
26 Posted 25/02/2016 at 10:12:01
I like the guy a lot. As somebody above said, some people said at the time that his transfer fee was a joke, but I see it as money very well spent. Ethical Everton? We've stolen a talented lad!

"Chelsea and Barcelona are rumours. When someone brings that up, it's because you're doing well. When I was at River, there was a rumour that Everton wanted me and it happened."

That could be read as saying the Chelsea rumour might bear fruit.

Brin Williams
27 Posted 25/02/2016 at 10:12:01
Harold (#18) – 'When I got back, my girlfriend was engaged to another bloke.'

reminds me of the soldier that came home after two years to find his wife pregnant. She said it was a 'grudge pregnancy' – it was obvious that somebody had had it in for him!!!
Brent Stephens
28 Posted 25/02/2016 at 10:16:49
Harold (#18) – 'When I got back my girlfriend was engaged to another bloke.'

I should have been so lucky! (Mr Editor, please delete this post after noon today - my wife will be back in after retiling the roof and repointing the chimney stack and she always checks my posts).

Harold Matthews
29 Posted 25/02/2016 at 10:47:17
Getting away from the homesick business, which does my head in, this lad plays as though he absolutely loves Everton. Never scared of throwing his body on the line in defence, he attacks the ball with gusto at set pieces and is usually first to leap on the back of our goal scorers.

By all accounts, many football people in Europe and South America are amazed with how he has managed to adjust so quickly to the high speed rigours of the Premier League and I'll bet they're pretty proud of their boy back home in Argentina. His elder brother was the one with all the natural talent but didn't have the mentality to handle it. Ramiro, on the other hand, is handling things just fine.

Other things I like about him are his ability to sense danger and his constant use of both feet throughout the game. If certain team-mates used both feet they wouldn't slow our tempo by continually passing the way their strong foot is pointing. In most instances this is sideways and back.

Jamie Barlow
30 Posted 25/02/2016 at 11:09:33
I think people initially moaned about his transfer fee because weren't we supposed to be getting him for about £4 million cheaper than we eventually bought him for?
Mike Allison
31 Posted 25/02/2016 at 12:57:58
Here's one Peter!

Although my general contributions to this site place me firmly at odds with whining pessimists on most occasions, I must admit to thinking it was an incredible fee for a guy we knew nothing about.

Tim Vickery's assessment of him, and the examples of other players Martinez brought from South America who flopped badly had me wondering what was going on, especially when it was Yarmolenko we all wanted to spend our money on last summer.

However, I would say (have said for a while now) that he is the best of our three centre backs. As far as I'm concerned Jagielka and Stones are in competition to play alongside him.

Ian Burns
33 Posted 25/02/2016 at 15:20:55
Harold (#28), I fully agree with your post (as usual), but I think the player you are referring to is in fact his twin brother, not his older brother.
Harold Matthews
34 Posted 25/02/2016 at 15:48:20
Cheers Ian. Twins of course. I was thrown by the fact that our boy was always in the shadow of his brother.
Ben Mackenzie
35 Posted 25/02/2016 at 16:13:08
He's older by 20 minutes....
Frank Wade
36 Posted 25/02/2016 at 17:07:27
If Ramiro is missing his family and as Harold says above, his identical twin brother Rogelio is the one with the talent, we could do worse than have a look at Rogelio. Who knows, playing and living with Ramiro might iron out the mental side of Rogelio's game and keep Ramiro at Goodison. If he has the same will to win and bravery shown by Ramiro he will do for me.

Plays for Monterrey in Mexico, 16 goals in 24 games. Looks good on YouTube (as they all do), strong two footed, one clip shows a Panenka nay Stones/Barkley penalty.

The problem with the transfer from River Plate was that he was entitled to a slice of any transfer fee as per his contract. Normally, that slice would come out of the selling club's take, not added to the fee that the buying club would have to pay.

I wonder what does Tim Vickery think of these latest rumours.

Barry Stevens
37 Posted 25/02/2016 at 17:18:31
Mr Matthews's comments re two-footed passing is spot on. Every game since he came, Funes Mori has done this. He actually does it with clerances as well, which shows what a good footballer he is.
Rob Hooton
39 Posted 25/02/2016 at 19:38:35
I really like this lad, he's brave, good in the air, can play a bit and is strong and determined too. Hope he settles down and stays for a good while yet.
Ian Riley
40 Posted 25/02/2016 at 20:05:37
Funes Mori or Stones to go? I'd rather lose one than both.
Tony Sullivan
41 Posted 25/02/2016 at 21:00:55
Absolutely agree with Jim Bennings. It's becoming ridiculous... a few good displays then the unsettling starts.

How is anyone supposed to plan and progress?

Andy Crooks
42 Posted 25/02/2016 at 21:18:52
Harold, does it not annoy you (it fucking irritates me beyond reason) that professional footballers have a favoured foot or are right sided or left sided. In my view, being adept with both feet should be a given for a professional footballer.

George Best was a genius with either foot and a lot of that , not all obviously, was down to hard work and practice. When I played, many years ago I could use both feet. Okay, I was shit with both, but I was equally shit.

Jim Hardin
43 Posted 25/02/2016 at 21:40:54

Interesting that Stones is still thought to be worth more than Funes Mori as a center-back. I guess in the Premier League, given the adjustment for an English player, that may still be true.

He took Stones' spot. His experience at River Plate, a very prestigious club in South American soccer, plus his nearly seamless integration into Everton, as well as his inclusion on the national team that is in the top tier, would seem to suggest he is undervalued. Next season. I would expect him to get offers from bigger Spanish and German clubs, who might then loan him out for a season or two.

I believe he, not Stones, has a long career ahead as a center-back. Sell Stones and buy Funes Mori – like this kid.

Phil Sammon
44 Posted 25/02/2016 at 22:22:09
Very few players are truly two-footed. I'd say Barkley and even more so, Jack Rodwell are two of the best in that department with regards to Everton over the last few years. Trouble is, you can be incredibly good on your left, but if you are right-footed, in a game scenario, you will favour that foot more often than not.

As I say, very few players are truly two-footed...and I can only think of Santi Carzola at Arsenal who really has that gift.

Michael Winstanley
45 Posted 25/02/2016 at 22:29:02
If only I could have been as good as you, Andy, I was the goalie.
Matt Ostnes
46 Posted 25/02/2016 at 22:45:13
About Ramiro and Rogelio:

As Harold said, Rogelio was the star of the future and Ramiro "the brother of..." The problem was that Rogelio made his first games in the first team too young and in an awful moment for River Plate. So, he had bad games and the fans never forgive him.

Then, when it was time for Ramiro, who had the "karma" of being a Funes Mori but, unlike his brother, Ramiro could handle the situation with a lot of confidence.

Despite playing well, he was still "the least awful Funes Mori" until his famous goal against Boca. From that moment, the Ramiro performances skyrocketed and he become first a cult hero and then one of the most loved players at River in the last decades. If you do a search on Twitter within a River plate game, you will find a lot of River fans missing Ramiro.

Meanwhile Rogelio is playing really well, I think he has the level to play in Europe. It would be funny to watch Rogelio vs Ramiro leaping like salmons to a corner kick.

Peter Lee
49 Posted 26/02/2016 at 14:27:37
Speaking to a member of our last league-winning team recently about the current team tactics... When I asked for his judgement about them, he was diplomatic and said that the best teams defended as a unit and attacked in the same way.

In order to do that, and it obviously makes sense, you need pace at both ends of the pitch. Currently we have that in Lukaku, Deulofeu and Lennon. We have no real pace in the current back 4. When we last won the league, we had both Gary Stevens and Kevin Ratcliffe who had the pace to cover from either side when we pushed to the half-way line.

I would suggest that, as we seek to improve the squad and the first eleven, we desperately need to buy in some defensive pace, preferably at centre-back. In saying this, I am not decrying Funes Mori – he has great positional sense in either box and will stop and score goals for us as a result. He's my choice over Stones.

In the meantime, one way we can overcome the stretch involved in sitting deeper to guard against balls over the top would be to have one (or more) player(s) in central-ish midfield waiting for the breakdown when we are defending who does have pace. This would mean that forward players would not have to stand still or come short to take the ball from defence or midfield but could get on their bike, either forward or across the back-four, a nightmare for defenders. This draws the defence away and gives a quick player space to run into and isolated players to run at.

Two players could do it: Lennon or Deulofeu. They could be asked to drop in there with that intention when selected wide right but I'd be interested to see what might happen if they were to get the last half-hour of a game doing that in the hole instead of Barkley.

John Daley
50 Posted 26/02/2016 at 15:31:33
Peter,

Surely, Lennon or Deulofeu can just as easily break forward, at pace, with the ball from out wide? Easier in fact.

Where's the benefit in removing Barkley from the middle (who is no slouch himself, is physically stronger and can hold onto it better than either of those two as well) or... if they constantly 'drop in' as you suggest...having no option out wide when the break is on? I don't see that it would add anything extra at either end of the pitch.

Harold Matthews
51 Posted 26/02/2016 at 15:33:29
Peter, Yes, I think we all like lightning quick players but they're not a necessity. In fact I can't think of one in the Spurs team who are a big powerful very fit unit, able to win the ball back quickly, defend like night club bouncers and put chances away.
Peter McHugh
52 Posted 26/02/2016 at 16:11:39
Jags and Coleman are speedy. I thought Distin and before him Lescott really covered Baines well. I think the issue is that Funes Mori or Jags that side when playing with Stones don't cover him. I appreciate Oviedo playing there lately and he seems to keep his position more than Baines.
Andrew McLean
53 Posted 26/02/2016 at 22:49:18
As is football, have a good first season and it is inevitable that other teams will show an interest.

The Barcelona move would make sense. He's better than Bartra and Mathieu. The guy they bought from Arsenal, although crocked most of last season has made few appearances. Mascherano has improved dramatically but Funes Mori would be good for Pique in the long run.

Obviously I would prefer Funes Mori stays where he is.

Peter Lee
54 Posted 27/02/2016 at 09:56:37
John, two points:

Receiving the ball with your back to the touch-line limits your options against a savvy defender. Receiving it centrally gives the option to go either way.

Secondly, I'm not arguing to start a game without Barkley in this context, rather to give Lennon or Deulofeu half-an-hour in that central role at the end of a game when (if we are ever) comfortably ahead.

Peter Lee
55 Posted 27/02/2016 at 10:14:58
John,

Taking the ball with your heels on the touchline gives you one option; taking it in central midfield gives you at least two. On the wing one defender can make a stab at holding you up, centrally it's a foul or embarrassment.

Not saying don't play Barkley but in a game where we are comfortably ahead, if that happy state is reached, maybe on Tuesday, who knows, sub him for Deulofeu. I am assuming Lennon will start.

Harold, agreed that pace is not essential but, without it at the back, you don't have the option to push up against pace and options are limited. In terms of forward options, we all remember what Gary Linker and Andrei Kanchelskis did for the opposition's piece of mind. Where would Leicester be this season without Jamie Vardy's pace?

Peter, Jagielka and Coleman may be speedy but Stevens and Ratcliffe could catch pigeons in flight. The lack of real pace at the back against Bournemouth meant that the presence of King, an otherwise average player, dictated the way we had to defend.

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