SportsRafa Mir, Lopetegui's wish fulfilled

Rafa Mir, Lopetegui’s wish fulfilled

Rafa Mir celebrates one of the goals he scored against Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Games.AMR ABDALLAH DALSH / Reuters

There is an aspect in the politics of Monchi, Sevilla’s sports director, which involves pleasing the coach in some of his essential requests. Monchi has the last word, but sometimes he gives him some candy to their coaches. For example, Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui has seen how the club sold a footballer, Bryan Gil, with a huge projection. Lopetegui really wanted to work with Gil, but he was understanding. “I wanted to have Bryan Gil, but we fully understand the club’s needs, which are ahead of what the coach thinks,” Lopetegui said publicly when asked about the winger, transferred to Tottenham for 25 million euros and Lamela . Monchi took note of that answer.

Shortly before the start of the League, the executive erupted by signing Montiel and Augustinsson to turn some orphaned sides of spare parts to Navas and Acuña. The next step has been to close the hiring of the profile of a striker for whom Lopetegui longed. An old-fashioned nine who knows how to play the ball on his back and who also offers direct football and a shot thanks to a good aerial game. And market circumstances have put the signing of Rafa Mir, a 24-year-old fashion forward who has just won the Olympic silver with Spain in Tokyo, in the way of Sevilla, being also the team’s top scorer with three goals, along with Oyarzabal . The Andalusian club pays 16 million euros to Wolverhampton and contracts Mir for the next six years (until 2027). He will wear the number 12, the one worn in his time, Kanouté, legend of the Andalusian club.

Monchi liked the message from the coach, who has won the Europa League in 2020 and has qualified Sevilla twice in a row for the Champions League with excellent numbers. He has rewarded him with Mir whenever he could. Lopetegui loves to play with a classic nine and have alternatives up front. The explosion of En-Nesyri (24 goals last season) did not prevent him from being a substitute at times to the benefit of De Jong, an attacker with characteristics more similar to those of Mir. Now, with the arrival of the Murcian, the Dutchman is considered amortized and an offer is expected to transfer him. Nobody has a safe position in the forward of Sevilla, made up of En-Nesyri, Mir, De Jong and Munir. En-Nesyri will also leave during the month of January to play the African Cup with the Moroccan team.

Interest in Joselu

Joselu was on Monchi’s roadmap. The Alavés striker (he scored on the first match against Madrid) is a footballer very much liked by Lopetegui. “There was interest at the beginning of the market, but as soon as Alavés gave us their economic valuation, we retired,” Monchi clarified regarding the Basque team’s leading edge. Sevilla was not willing to pay more than six million for a 31-year-old footballer who ends his contract in 2022. Rafa Mir is something else. That is why he has not hesitated to put those 16 million on the table to convince Wolverhampton, which has no choice but to sell it considering that the contract ends in 2022. In addition, Mir is 24 years old and can revalue. In case there is any further doubt, Sevilla has a good relationship with Jorge Mendes, the player’s agent and intermediary in many operations with the English team, with whom he conducts continuous business, turning the Wolves team into almost a Portuguese branch of the Premier .

Groups such as Valencia and Atlético de Madrid were interested in Mir. Now Simeone’s team seems to have set their sights on Fiorentina’s Vlahovic. The opportunity arose for Monchi, who did not let it slip away.

Last year, at Huesca, Mir played 39 games and scored 16 goals. Born in Cartagena, he was trained in futsal at a very young age and then made the leap to the Barcelona quarry. He could not hold out at La Masía and, being a child, he returned to Murcia, to enter the cadet category at Valencia. In the youth team of Valencia he left to the point that he made his debut in the first team playing Champions and La Liga games. In 2017 he did not renew with Valencia and left for Wolves, rejecting an offer from Madrid to enroll him in Castilla. It was not found in England. He has been on loan in Las Palmas, Nottinghan Forest and Huesca. With the Maño team he achieved promotion to First Division in 2020 (18 games and 9 goals), to go down again last season despite his 13 goals in La Liga. Mir has been an under-21 international on 10 occasions and has played six games in the Tokyo Games (three goals).

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