According to The Athletic, Everton is preparing for the possibility of Yerry Mina leaving the club as his contract nears its end.
Despite being in the relegation zone, new manager Sean Dyche has made a decent start with two wins and a draw in his first six Premier League games.
However, Dyche has had some tough fixtures in his first month, including two games against Arsenal and one against Liverpool at Anfield.
Mina has struggled for minutes recently, as Dyche has preferred a defensive partnership of Conor Coady and James Tarkowski.
Mina was a standout performer under previous manager Frank Lampard, but has yet to play a single minute under Dyche.
The Athletic reports that Mina is fit enough to play but has fallen down the pecking order under Dyche, with little chance of getting an opportunity unless Tarkowski or Coady suffer an injury.
Despite his potential, Mina has failed to meet expectations since his £27 million transfer from Barcelona, mostly due to persistent injuries.
The Athletic notes that Everton is already planning for a future without him, which could be for the best if he has no future under Dyche.
While it would be a shame to see him leave for nothing, it may be in Mina’s best interest to move on.
If Mina does leave Everton, the club will have to find a replacement for him. It remains to be seen who Dyche would prefer to bring in, but Everton’s recent transfer activity could give some insight into their thinking.
Everton could also look to bring in a younger centre-back to replace Mina, as the Colombian defender will turn 29 in September.
The club has a number of promising young defenders in their academy, including Lewis Gibson and Jarrad Branthwaite. However, it remains to be seen if they are ready to step up to the first team.
Regardless of what happens with Mina, Everton will need to improve their defensive performances if they are to climb out of the relegation zone.
The Toffees have conceded 22 goals in their first 13 Premier League matches, the third-worst defensive record in the league.
Dyche will be hoping that his preferred defensive partnership of Coady and Tarkowski can help to shore up Everton’s backline, but he may need to consider other options if they fail to deliver.
With Mina likely to leave the club in the summer, Everton will need to act quickly to find a replacement and ensure that they have a solid defence going forward.