By the end of March 2022, Yerry Mina had made just 11 appearances for Everton during the 2021-22 campaign. He was only just into double figures for Premier League appearances, with a familiar ailment keeping him stuck on the sidelines for long periods.
For the Colombian international, the current season has, quite literally, been a pain in the upper thigh. He has been left watching on from afar for longer than anyone could have predicted before a ball was kicked in anger, with little assistance being offered to a cause that has been crying out for inspiration from somewhere.
The Toffees have toiled as a collective for long periods, leading outright markets for Premier League odds to price the side with 14/5 shots for relegation and 5/4 to finish in the bottom half. Sights were being set considerably higher than that back in August.
You do, however, have to play the hand you are dealt, and that philosophy has applied to Mina as an individual as much as it has to Frank Lampard’s squad as an overall unit. There is nothing that can be done about the past, but a positive impact can still be made in the present and future.
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The hope at Goodison Park is that a proven performer at the heart of a porous defensive unit will be back sooner rather than later to help plug some rather alarming leaks.
Alex Iwobi’s winning goal for @Everton was the second-latest winning goal on record (since 2006/07) ⏱March 17, 2022
Lampard has, however, suggested that no return to first-team contention is imminent, saying of a long road to recovery: “It won't be surgery, but it will be a lot of work behind the scenes.” The Everton manager has added that every effort will be made to “help prevent further injuries”, with it foolish to take unnecessary risks regardless of the situation that the club finds itself in.
What does the future hold?
Mina should, with everything being kept crossed, come back into contention with there still enough points to play for in order for him to make an important contribution. Once he is able to lace up a pair of boots once more, with muscle complaints hopefully a thing of the past, then attention can turn to the issue of what to do about a contract that only has a little over 12 months left to run.
Everton tends to address expiring deals long before now, but their hand has been forced somewhat in this instance by unfortunate stints on the treatment table. Mina has had more pressing concerns this term than whether or not he should be putting pen to paper.
🇨🇴 | Yerry Mina won more aerial duels (9) than any other player in the Premier League this weekend.
The King. 👑 pic.twitter.com/OTDX9wHWL4— Everton (@Everton) September 14, 2021
Said discussions need to be held at some stage, though, before another transfer window opens and big decisions have to be made on the value that will only head in one direction.
The South American centre-half has shown on plenty of occasions since his arrival from Barcelona in 2018 that he is worth keeping around, but there are wider issues to address before he can be expected to commit to anything long-term on Merseyside. Getting things right on the field will make life easier, with new deals considerably more appealing when free of fitness problems and planning for more top-flight football.
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