Reports linking Paris Saint-Germain with a move for Idrissa Gueye have intensified since the January window reopened, but it would appear that Everton have a contingency plan in place to implement in the event of his departure, with Tottenham Hotspur target Wilmar Barrios reportedly in their sights.
According to a recent report from AS Argentina, Everton are willing to trigger Barrios’ $23 million (£18 million) release clause this month and offer the Colombian a chance to realise his dream of playing in European football.
That the Toffees are interested in Barrios perhaps suggests that Marco Silva is growing concerned interest from PSG may turn Gueye’s head, but he’s certainly looking in the right place for a worthy replacement.
Everton’s interest in Barrios could enable them to land a genuine bargain in the modern climate, much to the frustration of Tottenham Hotspur supporters.
With Mousa Dembele looking destined to leave Tottenham Hotspur and Victor Wanyama struggling to prove his fitness, Spurs have been repeatedly linked with Barrios since last summer, and if they miss out on the 25-year-old to a Premier League rival it could well come back to haunt Daniel Levy.
For a negotiator of Levy’s experience and reputation, Barrios’ £18 million release clause seems like an opportunity that is simply too good to miss, but with the Toffees now expressing an interest they may yet miss out on the combative midfielder.
Pragmatic Tottenham fans can appreciate that they are in the middle of a tough financial transition period – however frustrating it may be – but Levy’s failure to capitalise on Barrios’ availability may leave him short of financially viable midfield options later down the line.
A successful Everton swoop would ensure that Silva is well prepared to deal with Gueye’s departure in the event that PSG meet his valuation and convince him to swap Merseyside for Paris, while simultaneously delivering a psychological blow to their Premier League rivals.
Perhaps Barrios is too dependent on his ball-winning capabilities for a manager in Pochettino who clearly places huge value on technical quality, and perhaps that may yet force him to pursue a move for Norway’s Sander Berge instead.
Either way, Barrios’ obvious talent and scope for improvement could yet be realised at Everton and give Spurs supporters another reason to feel intense frustration over Levy’s opinion-dividing transfer policy.
Tottenham Hotspur and Everton fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
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