Vedat Muriqi set to become Mallorca's most expensive signing | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


During a week when Barça fans couldn’t buy a replica Robert Lewandowski shirt in the megastore outside the Nou Camp – the reason being that they had run out of the letter “W” as there are two of them in the Polish striker’s name ! – Real Mallorca fans had the best possible news on Wednesday when it was announced that, after weeks of rumours and conjecture, their dream had come true and we were on the cusp of signing a quality striker, in the 28-year-old Kosovan international Vedat Muriqi from Italian Serie A side Lazio for a reported sum of 9.5 million euros including add-ons in a four-year deal.

Our technical director Pablo Ortells has been given a lot of stick on social media for his lack of signings but after the Muriqi deal Ortells must be congratulated and some, he’s gone from zero to hero in a few snatched hours.

The player’s insistence on signing for Mallorca was a huge stepping stone for the deal to be finalised, and he had left a very touching message on his Instagram page when he went, saying how much he’d loved his six months on this beautiful island. Also our Mexican coach Javier Aguirre was determined to get his man, who he considered to be a fundamental piece in his scheme for season 2022/23.

Muriqi was a complete unknown when he arrived here during the winter transfer window, but it didn’t take him long to win over the hearts of the Mallorquinistas with his style of play – all over the pitch and not just in the penalty area. There’s no doubt “El Pirata” (as he’s affectionately nicknamed) was chief instigator in us staying in La Liga last season. Local social media users have been clamouring for Muriqi’s return and most of them had given up when it came to him coming back on a permanent deal.

It looked like Lazio had done a deal with Belgian side Bruges who had offered much more money and incentives than we could stretch to. Muriqi arrived in Belgium for a medical check up after which Bruges said he was in poor physical condition – not true ! A few hours later Muriqi passed a similar medical back in Rome with flying colours. Lazio were furious with the Belgians as they’d changed things by saying they wanted a loan deal with a view to a purchase after a while. Lazio weren’t interested as they wanted the deal on a permanent basis and they threatened to take Bruges to court.

About this time it’s reported that the player had his say, pushing hard for his club to do everything possible to reach an agreement with RCD Mallorca. Muriqi was also willing to lower part of his salary in order to pull on the new Mallorca red jersey (I wonder how many of them will be sold now with Muriqi’s name on the back – a snip at 100 euros !!) and that could see Mallorca save a substantial amount of money. With a four-year deal expected, the total operation would amount to 21 million euros, a risky figure for us but well worth it given the good performances expected from somebody who is without doubt quality. La Liga TV had him as one of the revelations of the winter window.

One thing’s for sure, there’ll be lots of fans at the airport when he arrives in the next few days to welcome home a hero who played a total of 1,439 minutes spread over 16 games, scoring five goals (two of them penalties), three assists and cleared the ball off the line a couple of times. Muriqi becomes the most expensive signing in RCD Mallorca’s 106 year history, ahead of Samuel Eto’o and Aritz Aduriz, both of them scoring shedfulls of goals in their time here. Bienvenido de vuelta Pirata !

Real Mallorca’s pre-season training trip to Austria comes to an end today and with a friendly won against Italian side Genoa on Friday we’ve won two and drawn one (3-0 against a Polish outfit and a 0-0 draw against World Cup hosts Qatar). We passed the Polish test without problems and there was a clear gulf in class.

The Qatar game gave us some insight into how coach Aguirre will set up his team this season. It seems the 62-year-old Mexican is a stickler for three central defenders that gives priority to keeping clean sheets and that in French international Clement Grenier we have the key player in mid field. He was (in my opinion) the best player on the pitch in both friendlies, hitting the Qatar goal frame in the second half. New signing Copete looks a good young player and we can now expect some more signings to strengthen several positions especially down both flanks.

What was strange was that four players, Matthew Hoppe, Jordi Mboula, Amath and Alex Alegria didn’t play any part in the Qatar game which means all four and Lago Junior (likely to move to Malaga) no longer feature in Aguirre’s plans. Hoppe looks likely to go out on loan as he’s desperate to get into the USA World Cup squad. Mallorca are convinced that Hoppe has qualities and intend getting him back next Summer.

AND FINALLY, a cabbie picks up a nun. He keeps staring at her and she says “Why are you staring at me so much ?” He tells her “I’ve always had a fantasy to kiss a nun.” She answers “I’ll kiss you if you’re single and Catholic.” The cabbie replies “I’m both,” so she tells him to find somewhere quiet. They pull into an alley and the nun proceeds to snog the cabbie’s face off. Not long after, the cabbie starts crying, “I lied, I’m married and Jewish.” The nun says “That’s cool, my name is Bert and I’m off to a fancy dress party !”