Yesterday, news broke that Tottenham Hotspur were close to an agreement to purchase Colombian national and defensive midfielder Wilmar Barrios from Boca Juniors. However, transfers are rarely simple and this one might have gotten a smidge more complicated.
The Independent is now reporting that Boca Juniors has offered Barrios a substantial hike in wages to tempt him to stay until January so the club can use him in the Copa Libertadores, basically the Champions League of South America.
Spurs meeting the release clause means that they are free to negotiate personal terms with Barrios and his agent, but it also means he’s free to turn down Spurs and stay at Boca if he wants. Barrios is currently with the Colombian national team in Russia where he’s set to play against Japan in the World Cup on Tuesday.
The Copa Libertadores is an amazing competition and super prestigious, so it may come down to how much Barrios wants to stay, at least initially. Spurs also have a choice. There are conflicting reports as to whether Spurs have made an offer, but he apparently has a release clause of just £14.5m, and if they make it then they’re free to negotiate with the player.
If they want him they can allow Barrios to stay until January and join Tottenham in that window, but there are disadvantages to coming to Spurs under Pochettino in the middle of the season without the benefit of a preseason — just ask Lucas Moura. Alternately, they could give Barrios a take-it-or-leave-it offer to come to the Premier League and make a lot of money, or if things get really sticky they could walk away.
It really depends on how nice Spurs want to be, but my guess is that they meet the release clause and convince Barrios to sign once Colombia ends their World Cup journey. The Independent article suggests that he’s being evasive about his future, and he’s probably also got Davinson Sanchez whispering sweet nothings into his ear about how great it is at Spurs and how he’ll love it in the Premier League. We’ll see what happens.