Brighton and Hove Albion would be wise to pursue Wilmar Barrios again

As per a report by Don Balon (h/t Sussex Live), Brighton and Hove Albion were linked with a move for Colombian international midfielder Wilmar Barrios in September 2020, who was bought for €15million by Zenit.

It was also claimed that the Seagulls offered him guarantees over salary and game time in a bid to convince him to move to the club. However, Barrios stayed put and the move did not materialise.

Profile

Born in Colombia in October 1993, Wilmar Barrios started his senior career with Colombian club Deportes Tolima in 2013. After spending 3 years with them, he moved to Argentine giants Boca Juniors in 2016.

Wilmar Barrios celebrates after scoring a goal for Zenit. (GETTY Images)
Wilmar Barrios celebrates after scoring a goal for Zenit. (GETTY Images)

The Colombian made 61 appearances for Boca in two seasons where he won the Argentine first division twice. Zenit were impressed by his displays and signed him in February 2019, where he current plays.

Barrios has had a highly successful time in Russia. He has won the league title (2x), the Russian Cup, and the Russian Super Cup in his time there. Barrios has made 33 appearances for the Colombian national team and even made the 2016 Olympic Team for his country. (h/t transfermarkt)

Wilmar Barrios is the steel Brighton need in midfield

Barrios is not about goals and assists. The defensive midfielder’s combative style of play includes hard tackling and interceptions. This is highlighted in his statistics in the league last season where he averaged 1.5 interceptions and 2.5 tackles a game.

Wilmar Barrios (R) in action for Zenit in the UEFA Europa League. (GETTY Images)
Wilmar Barrios (R) in action for Zenit in the UEFA Europa League. (GETTY Images)

His 52 yellow cards and 4 red cards in his 188 career appearances underline the no-nonsense defensive style of Barrios. This is what Brighton seem to be lacking in their midfield this season.

There interest in the 27-year-old Colombian in the last window was not without reason. Yves Bissouma is the only Brighton midfielder who is capable of playing that role. The Brighton midfield is very ‘soft’ in that regard.

This has also impacted them this season as their midfield has been overrun on occasions. The Seagulls have let in 21 goals this season and have a goal difference of -6. They also lost influential central midfielder Dale Stephens in the summer.

Wilmar Barrios during his time with Boca Juniors (Getty Images)
Wilmar Barrios during his time with Boca Juniors. (GETTY Images)

Barrios’ astounding heatmap in the Russian League with Zenit last season highlights how commanding he is. He is a player who is capable of covering every inch of the midfield and would give Brighton an edge.

Verdict

Another factor that will increase the need to sign a midfielder for Brighton would be Yves Bissouma. The Malian midfielder has been linked with a move away from the Amex in the past few months.

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If that move does happen, signing Barrios may become a matter of urgency. Brighton are hovering near the relegation zone and a player like Wilmar Barrios would solve a lot of headaches that Graham Potter has regarding his midfield.

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