Everton director of football Marcel Brands has denied reports that inflated agent fees, which proved prohibitive to Manchester United, were involved in the transfer of Yerry Mina from Barcelona to Goodison Park.
The Toffees completed the €32 million (£29m/$37m) signing of Mina following the end of the World Cup, during which the defender impressed for Colombia.
Reports since the transfer have claimed that United baulked at demands from the player’s representative, as they failed to secure a central defender during a summer marred by inactivity.
Indeed, deals for Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld, Leicester City’s Harry Maguire and Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng also failed to materialise, with Jose Mourinho reportedly disappointed that no such player was acquired.
Brands insists that there were no exorbitant demands involved in the transfer, with Everton only ever tabling one bid to Barcelona, which they initially stalled on accepting.
“No, no, it was really simple behind the scenes,” he said, per the Daily Telegraph, when asked if he was ever deterred.
“I put the offer in and Barcelona asked for a totally different amount that we would never have paid. Then they said: ‘Ok, we will wait until the end of the market.’ We never changed our offer.
“That was a bit of a gamble because everyone was writing about Man United (potentially tabling an offer) and Barcelona used that, agents used that, everyone used it. I don’t know exactly if Man United were in. The player said constantly to me: ‘I want to go to Everton.’
“That was a great thing for us but you never know if Man United comes in and offers an extra £150,000 a week – every player would like to do that. I don’t know exactly the situation with Man United, but of course Barcelona used it.
“They said to me: ‘Man United are coming in.’ I don’t know if they did but I took a bit of a risk with that. That’s why we were also keen on back-ups, you never know, but after the weekend before the market closed I had a confident feeling about it.”
Everton drew 2-2 with newly-promoted Wolves in their opening Premier League game, with Phil Jagielka controversially sent off, meaning Mina may be forced to make his debut earlier than initially anticipated.