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According to reports from Argentina, Fulham have tabled an offer for Boca Juniors defensive mdifielder Wilmar Barrios that would meet the Colombian’s release clause.

Earlier this week, there were widespread reports that a proposed to Europe had been shelved until the new year. Several English clubs including Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton had been heavily linked with a move for the commanding 24 year-old midfielder, whose strong performances for Colombia during the World Cup had increased interest in his services. Barrios had reportedly agreed to remain with Boca until the end of their Copa¬†Libertadores campaign but Fulham’s willingness to pay the ¬£16m that would release the player from his current contract would signify a new development.

Reports in south American claim that Boca are attempting to negotiate a new contract with representatives of Barrios to prevent him moving, although the player himself has made it known he would be interested in a move to the Premier League. The same reports suggest that Fulham’s rumoured interest in the Manchester City youngster Oleksandar Zinchenko represents a back-up option if Barrios, a powerful deep-lying midfielder, decides to rebuff their overtures and remain with Boca.

Barrios, who spent three years with Colombian outfit Deportes Tolima helping them win the Colombian Cup in 2014, has made 46 appearances for Boca in two years in Argentina. He was a key part of the Boca side that won the Argentinian Premier Division in 2016/2017 and his composed midfield play has gradually gained more international recognition. He was part of the Colombian squad at the 2016 Olympics and has now won thirteen senior caps for his country, culminating in a series of excellent displays during the World Cup in Russia – where Colombia were eliminated by England in the second round after a penalty shoot-out.

Fulham’s interest in Barrios is another indication that they are pursuing high-level targets as part of their summer recruitment. The newly-promoted side already pulled off a real coup with the signing of Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri last week, although their move for Barrios is almost certain to spark concerted interest from across Europe. The Whites are short of options at the base of their midfield, with Scottish international Kevin McDonald – thought to be in talks over a new contract at Fulham – yet to feature during pre-season.