Preseason News Roundup 🇬🇧


Three weeks have passed since RCD Mallora’s stunning remontada (comeback) against Deportivo La Coruña at Son Moix that secured their place back in La Liga after an absence of 6 seasons. The players return to training on Monday and even in that short time, much has happened. In this article I will give you a roundup of all of the preseason Real Mallorca news from those short three weeks.

New Contracts

In my post promotion article I outlined the key priorities for RCD Mallorca in the close season. In the three weeks since that incredible June evening sporting director Maheta Molango and manager Vicente Moreno have been busy.

Priority number one was always to secure the immediate future of the mastermind behind the back to back promotions from Segunda B to La Liga, manager Vicente Moreno. Moreno had been linked through the season with a departure to La Liga and had provided no assurances about his future. However, once promoted there was clearly no hesitation from Moreno, his technical team or Molango, as they very quickly extended their contract until 2022.

Another man to be tied into a new contract in double quick time was the unsung hero of the remontada, Iddrisu Baba. The 23 year old Ghanian holding midfielder had a statistically near perfect game with his tackling, intercepting and passing statistics that night being second to none.

As yet, there are a number of key players who, whilst under contract, have two years or less on their current deals. Notably, Antonio Raillio (2 years), Joan Sastre (1 year), Aridai (1 year) and Lago Junio (2 years). The club will be working to either tie them to longer deals or to move them on for money before their contract runs down and they lose them for nothing. With the tight budget that RCD Mallorca will need to work to compared to other La Liga sides this season, some dealing in this window will be necessary.

New Signings

Last season, RCD Mallorca were particularly successful in the loan market, with two of their most important additions coming from Italian sides. Slovakian Martin Valjent’s loan has been made permanent from Chievo Verona at the cost of 1.5 million Euros until 2022. Centre forward Ante Budimir has also been made permanent from Crotone at the cost of 2.2 million Euros until 2023.

The new signings have not been limited solely to the loanees, with a number of new faces added to the squad. 23 year old central midfielder Aleix Febas has joined permanently from Real Madrid B. The box to box player has played an integral part in teams finishing in the top six in the Segunda two seasons in a row. First playing 41 games for Real Zaragoza at the age of 21, then 40 for Albacete last season, again finishing in the play off positions. Also brought in in midfield is Josep Señé, an attacking midfielder from Cultural Leonesa in the Segunda Division B. Señé is a player who has played in La Liga and the Segunda before dropping to Segunda B. There have been question marks over his temperament in the past and RCD Mallorca will be hoping to see the best of him both on and off the field as Moreno gives him an opportunity to resurrect his career.

In addition to Ante Budimir, the club have invested in two further centre forwards, both free transfers. Argentinian Pablo Chavarria, has joined until 2021 from Reims of the French Ligue 1 with and Alex Alegria joining from Real Betis of La Liga. Chavarria scored 5 goals with 3 assists in Ligue 1 last season. Alegria has featured sporadically in La Liga in the past with little success and played in the Segunda with Sporting de Gijon last season, scoring 3 goals in 16 games.

Finally, for now at least, RCD Mallorca have brought in Aleksandar Sedlar from Piast Gliwice, reported to be one of the leading central defenders in the Ekstraklasa, Poland´s top division. Another free transfer demonstrates the dealing that Molango has been doing behind the scenes and the Serbian has signed until 2023.

Departures

With a step up in level of opposition, inevitably some new players must be recruited and there must also be some balancing of the books with departures from the squad. The one unwanted departure was that of left back Pervis Estupiñan, on loan from English Premier League side Watford. Just days before the crucial play off final second leg it emerged in the press that his team had agreed to a move to Segunda champions Osasuna. The Ecuadorian, loved by all, can leave Son Moix with his head held high. The fans know and appreciate that he always gave his best effort on the pitch and was the architect of a number of goals, either scoring or assisting in his brilliant partnership with Lago Junior down the left hand side. Also on the left hand side of defence, Mallorca loses Salva Ruiz who returns to Valencia in a deal agreed in the January window.

A further two loanees have also departed with their deals expiring. Nikola Stojiljkovic returning to Braga of Portugal after spending almost all of his loan spell since January injured and unavailable for selection. He will not return to the club after an array of signings in the forward positions already this window. Attacking midfielder Leo Suarez has returned to his parent club, Villareal, who are yet undecided over whether they will make him available for loan again. If they do then Vicente Moreno will be in the driving seat, should he wish the player to return.

The only other departures from the squad are those of fringe players who had no part to play in the promotion from the Segunda. Central defender Franco Russo and forward Sergio Buenacasa both depart on a year long loan to SD Ponferradina, newly promoted to the Segunda. Leandro Montagud, Alejandro Faurlin, Pol Roigé, Fernando Cano, Álvaro Bustos and Néstor Salinas have all had their contracts terminated and leave on a free transfer.

Following an influx of strikers being brought into the club, expect to see some movement out. The most likely candidate for this is Alex Lopez who would also demand a small fee. Promotion hero and Mallorquin, Abdon Prats, will be kept around the squad regardless of his involvement in games due to his positive impact on the squad harmony.

Season Ticket Sales

There has been unprecedented demand for season tickets already with queues lasting hours on end in the sweltering Summer heat and those just for season ticket holders just looking to renew. The club has priced tickets very fairly for those who stayed with the team in the Segunda B and Segunda with nominal increases on last year’s pricing. New season ticket holders will find a more expensive price for their new found interest in making their way to Son Moix which regularly saw crowds of around 8,000 throughout the season last year.

Existing season ticket holders were originally allowed to purchase a further two season tickets and were able to move their current seat to other vacant ones which sparked ticket chaos at Son Moix when they went on sale. The club has since stopped this initiative until after August 8th. Current expectations are the club will be close to 15,000 season ticket holders by the time they go on general sale on 8th August. With the ground holding around 23,000 that means that there will be slim pickings remaining for those new season ticket holders looking to secure their socio.

Preseason Schedule

The club has announced the pre-season match schedule which will see RCD Mallorca play three game locally on the island before flying to Marbella for a further three matches. They will then finish their preparations with the Palma cup match at Son Moix a week before the start of the season against Levante UD. The full schedule is below.

21st July vs CE Felanitx – Estadio Municipal de Sa Pobla
24th July vs Platges de Calvià – Son Bibiloni (RCD Mallorca training centre)
28th July vs UD Poblense – Son Bibiloni (RCD Mallorca training centre)
1st August vs Málaga CF – Marbella Football Centre
4th August vs FC Crotone – Marbella Football Centre
7th August vs Getafe CF – Marbella Football Centre
10th August vs Levante UD – Stadium Son Moix

League Fixtures

The league fixtures were announced on the 4th of July and since then La Liga have announced the schedule for the first three games of the season. RCD Mallorca open with back to back home games against SD Eibar and Real Sociedad, two games that could allow them to really lay down a marker. The opener against Eibar has, controversially, been selected for Monday night football. There were huge protests against Monday night football throughout Spain, including in Mallorca, last season. Furthermore, chairman of La Liga Javier Tebas has announced Monday night football without the agreement of the Spanish Football Federation. Talks will take place this week but as a result the date of the opening games remains uncertain.

Match day 3 sees RCD Mallorca look to improve on their away form of last season with a daunting visit to Valencia in the Mestalla Stadium, one which many RCD Mallorca fans will look to attend due to the proximity of Valencia to the island. Other notable fixtures are below (subject to change due to TV between Friday and Monday of the weekend);

Real Madrid
Home – 20th October
Away – 12th April

Barcelona
Home – 15th March
Away – 8th December

Atletico Madrid
Home – 25th September
Away – 3rd May

What Next?

As the team rejoins on Monday morning for preseason training there are still a number of unresolved issues. Notably the futures of a number of existing players on short contracts, which the club will want to secure quickly. There is also a gaping hole in the squad at left back which must be filled as quickly as possible. It is possible, but unlikely, that Sedlar could take up the role if Mallorca are unable to recruit before the season begins.

There also remains the opportunity for the club to take Leo Suarez back on loan, or permanently, should his parent club decide not to retain him for the coming season. Finally, having released one goalkeeper, the club now has only two senior goalkeepers from which to choose. As a result, expect movement in this area with a new face coming in, possibly as number one to take over from Manolo Reina.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks, it is certain that fans of the club will not be able to wait for the season to start. Vicente Moreno and his team will be preparing hard for the season ahead, hoping to make it a third season of success in a row. If he can keep the club, with one of the smallest budgets in the division, up in La Liga with much of the team that gained promotion from the Segunda B then it would truly be his biggest achievement to date.

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