The international break offers a chance to take a breather from the busy fixture schedule and reflect on some of the other pertinent issues at Everton.
The injury situation is an obvious one. While the Toffees have started the season in brilliant fashion, the hiatus gives the chance for Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Seamus Coleman to continue their recovery.
With Salomon Rondon not heading off with Venezuela, it offers the opportunity for him to work towards full match fitness.
And in the background, manager Rafa Benitez and director of football Marcel Brands will be in discussions over future plans.
Who could be recruited in the January transfer window will be a topic deliberated, along with those in the current squad.
You’d be surprised if Yerry Mina’s name isn’t mentioned.
At a glance: 5 key points
- Mina joined Everton from Barcelona in the summer of 2018 for €30 million
- His arrival came off the back of helping Colombia reach the World Cup quarter-finals. The centre-back scored in his country’s penalty shootout loss to England.
- Manchester United were also linked with Mina before he moved to Goodison Park.
- In total, he has made 83 appearances for the Toffees, netting six goals.
- This season, Mina has arguably been Everton’s best defender.
The Colombia international’s contract expires in the summer of 2023 and sections of Evertonians are, quite understandably, wondering if he will be offered fresh terms.
Things haven’t always gone smoothly for Mina since his €30 million arrival from Barcelona in August 2018.
Injuries, mainly, are the reason why his time on Merseyside has been somewhat stuttering.
However, Mina’s displaying top-class form this season, having started five of Benitez’s side’s league games.
Forget the offside goal at Manchester United. When it comes to his defensive duties, plenty would concur there’s not been a better performer in 2021-22.
Dominant aerially, robust in the challenge, plenty of pace and sound distribution. He has all of the attributes a modern centre-back requires.
That’s a stat
Mina’s high-performance levels are backed up by the statistics compiled by Wyscout.
After the 3-1 defeat of Burnley last month, Everton proudly boasted on Twitter that Mina we won nine headers - more than anyone in the top flight that weekend.
He well and truly thwarted the robust Clarets strikeforce of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes.
And when it comes to successful aerial duels in the Premier League, Mina sits second in the table. He’s come out on top of 67.74% of his headed battles, with Brentford’s Ethan Pinnock (68.42%) only better.
For successful headers in a player’s own penalty area, the ex-Palmeiras defender is sixth in the division with a tally of 11.
In addition, Mina averages 6.71 interceptions and 1.09 shots blocked per 90 minutes. That puts him top of the pile at Goodison.
Should he remain fit, Mina could establish himself as one of the league’s premier centre-backs.
With the prospect of Ben Godfrey being restored to the heart of the rearguard when Coleman’s fit, it’s a partnership that will have both silk and steel.
On bare form, could Everton afford to Mina him if he maintains such high-performance levels? And could the Blues get someone as good or an upgrade if he was to leave?
Having just turned 27, he’s in the peak of his career. Should Everton tie him down, they’ll reap the dividends of his best years.
On the flip side, there are caveats to not hand Mina a new contract. Money is an obvious one.
To extend any player’s future who is in their prime means one thing - a pay rise.
That’s perfectly understandable as, in any career, anyone who’s regarded as an asset wants to be rewarded.
The problem for the Toffees is that Mina will already be one of the club’s highest earners. Having joined from Barcelona as the most expensive defender in the club’s history, his wages would have been matched.
Sportrac claim Mina’s currently earning £120,000 per week, although those figures always have to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Still, Benitez and Brands will have to weigh up whether handing the Colombian a wage rise would be prudent.
If the Toffees are outside the Champions League, would it be sage to pay someone that sort of money with his injury record?
In total, he’s missed 34 of 121 league matches to date - more than a quarter during his time at the club.
That’s one key facet that needs to be considered given the financial fair play restrictions Everton are negotiating. Every penny needs to be maximised.
Then it comes down to whether Mina wants to remain on Merseyside. He could be eyeing a fresh challenge elsewhere.
Should that be the case, it’s likely the Blues would look to cash in on the centre-half and recoup some funds rather than allowing his contract to expire and depart for nothing.