Over the past season Mallorca have enjoyed a swift turnaround in their fortunes. Carrying on from the narrow escape in 2011 when new Swansea manager Michael Laudrup managed to keep the club in the Primera Liga by the smallest of margins, Mallorca seemed to have ridden their luck too far in the early stages of the next season. Form dwindled and backroom staff squabbled during a turbulent time on the usually relaxing Balearic Island.
As a result of poor financial health, a problem plaguing many Spanish sides over the past five years, Mallorca were not granted a licence to play in the Europa League for the 2010/11 season. It seemed as though the curtain was coming down on three consecutive seasons of top 10 finishes.
However, the arrival of Joaquin Caparros as manager and a stern look in the mirror behind the scenes, makes the situation all seems rather rosy on the island.
Climbing back from an awkward start, Mallorca battled into Europa League contention and almost stole in on the final day. Just a shame Real Madrid were the opponents looking to break the 100 point barrier in La Liga. Nevertheless, a fine effort as it appeared likely that Mallorca would be fighting for something else in the final game at one point!
On top of that, Mallorca have managed to figure out their money mess and posted a profit of €7.2million this year. More impressive is that figure with respect to the one the season before; a loss of €16.1million!
So has the club exited their rut? It appears so. Money woes worsen but now that they’re under control and significant cutbacks don’t seem too apparent Mallorca can continue on the back of a fine year under Caparros, who has signed a new contract.
Another player who can push on after a decent year is striker Victor. His 9 goals last year don’t put him in the same light as ex-Mallorca striker Samuel Eto’o (not by a longshot!) but they were grafted hard for and were the result of Caparros’ belief in him. As first choice striker, Victor scored at vital times alongside Tomer Hemed and together formed a partnership which could win games. Victor is entering the prime of his career at 27, as is Hemed at 25 and the two are forming a formidable duo which could blossom even more in the coming year.
Even more importantly is the emphasis and adoration towards homegrown players. Victor included, Mallorca boast a strong squad of players with Balearic ethnicity such as Pep Marti, Tomas Pina and Emilio Nsue.
In defence Mallorca relied on Mallorca-born Ivan Ramis, a strong centre-back who has grown into a decent professional in recent years, but who has since joined Wigan. His experience and reading of the game was superb and will be a valuable asset to the Lactics squad but will leave a gaping hole in the Mallorca defence. Ramis leaves his hometown club despite having the capability to take over as permanent captain in the near future.
Emilio Nsue is generating a lot of excitement in Palma with his exciting runs and positions taken up. At 22 he has years ahead but managed 3 La Liga goals last term in 30 matches as well as 4 assists. Mallorca may be forced to sell him in the future like a whole host of others in years gone by but he is always improving and could potentially lead Mallorca into Europe again.
Nsue’s rapid progression matches that of the club who have turned things around in such a short space of time. After a panic period in 2010, Mallorca are on the road back into European contention and under Caparros and the new board, they have a solid platform once again.
La Liga: 8th
Copa del Rey: Quarter-finals (lost 3-0 to Athletic Bilbao)
Javier Arizmendi free from Getafe
Antonio Lopez free from Atletico Madrid
Ruben Mino free from Barcelona B
Javi Marquez €1.2million from Espanyol
Marti Crespi free to Chornomorets Odesa
Ivan Ramis €6m to Wigan
Gonzalo Castro free to Real Sociedad
Sergio Tejera free to Espanyol
Gianni Zuiverloon loan to Heerenveen
Marvin Ogunjimi loan to Standard Liege
One to Watch: Emilio Nsue
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