When it rains (in Spain in the plain), it pours. July 4th brought the official announcement of Slovenian left back Bojan Jokic, and now is the turn of yet another former Mallorca central midfielder. First came Ariel Ibagaza, Borja Valero, and Jonathan de Guzmán. Now welcome to Villarreal, Tomás Pina.
Pina was arguably the best performer last season for the bermellones, but they were relegated. So take that popular assessment with a few grains of salt. With the departure of Marcos Senna, uncertainty surrounding Héctor Canteros, and age and injury concerns with Javier Farinós, the Yellow Submarine looked thin in the doble pivote. Enter Pina, and Bruno Soriano has a talented young companion to groom.
Tomás Pina was born in Castile-La Mancha and began his senior footballing career with the now-defunct CD Móstoles in metropolitan Madrid. After one season in the Tercera, Pina joined Mallorca at age 20 and began playing for the barralet filial. Pina helped Mallorca ‘B' gain promotion to the Segunda B in his first season, then debuted in the Primera in January 2010.
Pina joined Mallorca's first team in 2010-11 but started only one match, along with a handful of cameo appearances. His playing time was likely limited by the islanders' flirtation with relegation, just escaping the drop by finishing in 17th place.
2011-12 was a different story. Pina made 31 league appearances for Mallorca, including 24 starts, and the islanders finished 8th in the table. Similar to Rubén Cani, Pina often did not play the full 90 minutes - strange for a central midfielder. Similar to a center back, Pina accumulated a whopping 13 yellow cards.
In 2012-13, Pina started all but two of Mallorca's first 36 league matches - he missed one due to yellow card accumulation. Injury kept Pina out of most of the islanders' final 3 games in the Primera, but he was a regular for both Joaquín Caparrós and Gregorio Manzano. Those performances did not go unnoticed around La Liga.
In 77 appearances with Mallorca, Pina totaled 1 goal, 3 assists, and 21 yellow cards. The numbers of a prototypical holding midfielder: little will be expected of Pina in attack.
Reports suggest that Pina's transfer could be for up to €5 million, but everything depends on the Giovani dos Santos situation. If Mallorca wants to stiff Tottenham, then both players need to go to the same club. Pina's arrival should give us a leg up, but the islanders are pesky negotiators.
How will Pina fit in at Villarreal? Is his arrival part of a package deal with Mallorca?