Mallorca 2012-13 preview

The fallout from Michael Laudrup's exit ended up working well for Mallorca last season – they appointed Joaquin Caparros as his replacement, and went from strength to strength. Caparros now looks likely to get an extended stay at Iberostar Stadium, which will provide much needed stability for a team that has otherwise had 10 Coaches in as many years.

Their eighth place finish last season far exceeded expectations, but Caparros will now be looking for his side to match that success this year. He'll have to do it without some key players though – defender Chico returned to Genoa en route to Swansea City, whilst Ivan Ramis signed for Wigan and playmaker Gonzalo Castro moved to Real Sociedad.

Amidst the financial concern at the club, Mallorca haven't been busy in the transfer market. The signings of Antonio Lopez and Javi Marquez bring experience and know-how to the team, but their decimated defence could throw youngsters Ximo Navarro and Pedro Bigas in at the deep end.

Before August's transfer deadline, Caparros will be looking to bring in some depth at centre-back, as his teams are usually built on stout defences. At the other end of the pitch, they don't score many goals and the loss of Castro could really harm them going forward, so other players like Michael Pereira and Alejandro Alfaro have to step up this season and provide Tomer Hemed and Victor Casadesus with the ammunition to take this team further.

The club hasn't been outside the top flight since the 1996-97 season, and despite their lofty finish last year, Caparros' first aim will still be to secure survival. Mallorca's well-documented off-field problems mean that relegation would be disastrous, and whilst expectations will be higher, the longevity of the club must come into consideration.

The difference maker – Tomer Hemed

Israeli striker Hemed cemented himself as Mallorca's main goalscoring threat last season with eight goals, and will now be looking to build on a promising debut season in La Liga. Hemed will probably be the man to spearhead the attack, so look for him to be a main goalscorer again.

Best signing – Javi Marquez

The signing of Marquez stunned some people, as the former Espanyol man had been linked with moves to bigger clubs like Valencia and Atletico Madrid. A cultured playmaker, Marquez has a superb left foot and great passing range – he should slot into their midfield with ease.

His time? Emilio Nsue

At 22, Nsue needs to start producing the goods. The departure of Gonzalo Castro should give him the chance to express himself going forward, as Caparros experimented with him at right-back. He's quick and direct, but the end product hasn't lived up to expectations borne from his performances for Spain's youth teams.

Coach – Joaquin Caparros

A mainstay of La Liga in recent years, Caparros transformed Mallorca from a team looking over their shoulder to within three points of European football, having replaced Michael Laudrup last season. His defensive style of football worked well, as they conceded just 46 goals last season – one of the meanest defences in the League.

The big question…

How can Mallorca cope without their main defenders after Chico and Ramis were sold?

Probable line-up: Aouate; Bigas, Ximo, Nunes, LOPEZ; Marti, MARQUEZ; Pereira, Alfaro, Nsue; Hemed


IN: Mino (gk, Barcelona), Ximo (d, Real Mallorca B), Bigas (d, Real Mallorca B), Lopez (d, Atletico Madrid), Marquez (m, Espanyol), Arizmendi (a, Getafe)

OUT: Cendros (d, Gent), Zuiverloon (d, Heerenveen), Ramis (d, Wigan), Crespi (d, Chornomorets Odesa), Caceres (d, Torino), Ienaga (m, Gamba Osaka), Tejera (m, Espanyol), Castro (m, Real Sociedad), Ogunjimi (a, Standard Liege)