Report: Barcelona Lines Up Yerry Mina as Mascherano Replacement

Barcelona have identified Palmeiras defender Yerry Mina as their emergency replacement for Javier Mascherano should he demand a move away from the club.
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Barcelona have identified Palmeiras defender Yerry Mina as their emergency replacement for Javier Mascherano should he demand a move away from the club - possibly to the Chinese Super League - this January. 

A number of potential destinations have been mooted for Mascherano, who is looking to get first-team minutes ahead of the summer's World Cup in Russia, including a return to Anfield to link up with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side. 

Mundo Deportivo report that the Catalan giants could move early for Mina this January if Mascherano forces their hand, having previously planned to bring him from his native South America to Spain at the end of the season. 

Barcelona are believed to have an agreement with Palmeiras to sign Mina in the summer for €9m, and must now convince 2016's Serie A champions to let the 23-year-old center back leave six months early for a similar fee. 

The injury sustained by Samuel Umtiti at the start of the month has made the issue a more pressing one for the current Primera Division leaders, with the French defender likely to be out until at least the end of the league's winter break and possibly beyond. 

Club director Guillermo Amor admitted recently that Mascherano's future remains up in the air, saying: "What happens with Mascherano we will see soon. We have to see the movements and how everything happens. Mascherano is a captain, he is a winner and he is very important for us, when he plays and when he does not play, when he is injured or on the bench."