Yerry Mina
Yerry Mina Getty

Barcelona are said to have identified Yerry Mina as the main candidate to replace Javier Mascherano ahead of the upcoming January transfer window.

The Colombian international has been linked with a move to the La Liga giants since the Catalans secured first refusal to sign him from Palmeiras.

Barcelona were expected to delay his arrival until the end of the current season but Mundo Deportivo claims that they will try to bring the deal forward to January if Mascherano finally leaves the Nou Camp.

The Spanish publication claims that the Catalans need to negotiate the transfer with Palmeiras as the option to lure him away from the Brazilian outfit for a fee set at €9m cannot be activated until the summer.

Mundo Deportivo suggests that Barcelona are ready to pay a little bit in excess of that fee to bring the deal forward to January but the Catalans will turn their attention elsewhere if Palmeiras demand too much.

The Catalans will surely have the approval of the player with his uncle and agent recently claiming that Mina would rather to make the move to the Nou Camp now than in the summer.

One way or another Mina's arrival will depend on Mascherano's own future at Barcelona after the Argentina international recently confirmed that he wants to leave the Nou Camp to secure more regular game time ahead of the summer World Cup.

Barcelona spokesman Josep Vives has suggested the club will only sanction the departure of the Argentinian if they are able to sign a better player to replace him.

Mundo Deportivo says that the Catalans are considering selling Mascherano but that he won't be allowed to leave on the cheap.

It has been said that Chinese side Hebei Fortune are ready to pay between €5m and €6m for his services but the report states that Barcelona will demand a higher fee to sanction his departure.

Mina might not be the only player to join Barcelona from the Brazilian league with Mundo Deportivo adding that Gremio midfielder could follow the centre-back in the summer.

The Catalans have also been heavily linked with the 21-year-old midfielder in recent times after a photograph of the player wearing a Barcelona shirt alongside club technical secretary Robert Fernandez was leaked through social media.

The La Liga giants were even forced to issue an apology after Gremio president Romildo Bolzan expressed his disappointment with Barcelona, warning they will demand Arthur's full €50m (£44m, $58.7m) release clause should any suitor firm up their interest.

Mundo Deportivo claims that Arthur's "option to join Barcelona in the summer have been multiplied" due to the positive reports made by the club technical secretary during his trip in South America.

Fernandez was in attendance in both legs of the Copa Libertadores final between Gremio and Lanus and Mundo Deportivo says that his reports regarding Arthur "back" his potential arrival to the Nou Camp ahead of next season.