A revitalised Real Mallorca, under new coach Fernando Vazquez, will be hoping that at last we can win away from home on Sunday against Ponferradina (something we haven’t done since last April), kick off 5 pm. The team left today, flying to Madrid then completing the 339.5 km trip to the Castellano-Leoneses region by coach. It’s expected that all our new signings will be in the travelling party who will play against a team that are three points ahead of us, having lost their captain and leading goalscorer, Yuri, during the week, as he’s followed the new big footballing money trail to China.
The club has signed three new players. Club chief executive (or general manager) Maheta Molango hit the ground running after our lacklustre win over Alcorcon last weekend. To say the goings-on have been frenetic would be an understatement. The intentions of the new owners led by millionaire banker Robert Sarver were made evident when his consortium wasted no time in strengthening the squad, especially in the striking department. It’s imperative we stay in La Segunda and get back up the league. Nine wins from 20 games should see us safe.
With regard to the new signings, first up was 25-year-old Ivorian striker Lago Junior. He’s been playing for La Segunda side Mirandes and is their leading goalscorer this season with seven. He was the jewel in their crown and recently starred when they knocked Malaga out of the Copa del Rey. He’s come on a deal until 2019 and we’ve paid Mirandes the necessary amount to rescind his contract at the Burgos based club. A lot is expected of Lago and after seeing snippets on the telly he looks the business.
Next signing was 27-year-old Portuguese right-winger Diogo Salomao. He’s arrived after Vazquez specifically asked for him because Salomao played for Deportivo when Vazquez coached the Galician side to promotion two years ago. The Portuguese Under-21 International scored a goal in the last game of the season at the Nou Camp in 2014 that kept Depor in La Liga before he returned to his parent club Sporting Lisbon; he’s signed on a two-year deal.
Making it a hat trick of signings is an out-and-out centre forward, Alfredo Ortuño, who’ll be here until June. He will wear the No. 9 shirt vacated by Bianchi. Mallorca tried to buy him last summer from Las Palmas but his fee was too high for our meagre budget then. He spent the first part of this campaign on loan at Zaragoza where he also scored seven goals.
On Friday, the Mallorca coach said he was pleased with the new additions. “But we have to keep our feet on the ground and not get carried away with these signings. They are after all Second Division players and not top players from the heady heights of La Liga. Our budget, although healthier, doesn’t stretch to the large wage demands of top Primera players.”
With the new arrivals there are inevitably some departures, club captain Javi Ros has joined Zaragoza, Fofo moves to Llagostera and surprisingly Thierry Moutinho has accepted a loan deal to join Tenerife. He’ll be back at the Son Moix next season. We now have a surplus of “wingers” with Brandon, Pereira, Salomao, Roigé, Arana and James all in wide positions and there’s been a fitness problem with Moutinho for several weeks. He wants regular first-team football and with the competition for places now more intense, he wasn’t guaranteed a start every game.
With the transfer window in Spain closing at midnight on Monday, it’s known, especially in January, for bringing in unexpected moves and late surprises. Mallorca fans’ heads are spinning at the speed in which these three new players plus Adrian Colunga and Pol Roigé have arrived. There was even more good news for frustrated fans when Brandon Thomas signed his first professional contract, keeping him at the Son Moix until 2019. There were initially some problems but they seem to have been quickly ironed out. Brandon said he was pleased to have signed for his home team and it was the biggest day of his life to sign on professional terms. Coach Vazquez has got the players he wanted and all have experience of playing in the tough Spanish second division. Let’s just hope the new acquisitions bed in quickly and turn our season around.
Next Sunday (7 February) at 5 pm there’s a home game against bottom side Bilbao At. There’s to be a special pre-match fiesta outside the Mallorcafé. Season ticket holders can get two plates of paella plus a match ticket for a friend for just 10 euros. That all starts at 2:30pm and tickets can be obtained from the club offices between 9am to 2pm and 3.30 to 6.30pm this coming week. Also if people want a season ticket to sit in the new Luis Sitjar stand, they are available for a snip at 40€.