Rafa Mir has no regrets about his decision to leave Wolverhampton Wanderers and the Premier League last summer, telling Mundo Deportivo that he was ‘super excited’ to sign for Sevilla.
Despite the best efforts of Mir and co, however, there remains a nagging feeling that Sevilla are, to put it bluntly, just not as good as they should be.
Surely a side boasting the talents of Jules Kounde, Diego Carlos, Ivan Rakitic, Joan Jordan, Papu Gomez, Suso, Youssef En Nesyri, Lucas Ocampos, Gonzalo Montiel, Thomas Delaney and Erik Lamela should be among the favourites for the La Liga title this season?
Especially in an era where Barcelona are fishing down the back of the sofa for spare Euros and Real Madrid continue to rely on their creaking, arthritis-ridden old guard.
And, yes, Sevilla are third in the table, just two points off top spot.
But, under former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui, Los Nervionenses are more functional than thrilling, edging out opponents 1-0 or 2-0 rather than blowing them away with a hurricane of attacking fury.
And, as they discovered against relegation-threatened Alaves last weekend, it doesn’t take much for a narrow win to turn into a frustrating – and potentially costly – draw.
Why did Rafa Mir leave Wolves for Sevilla?
Mir, at least, ensures that Sevilla have a reliable penalty-box presence to hang their hat on in the injury-enforced absence of En-Nesyri.
Since joining from Wolves in a deal worth nearly £14 million in August, the former Spain U21 star has scored five times, his most recent goal coming in the midweek Champions League victory over VFL Wolfsburg.
“It was all very fast. We had had conversations with the coach and with (sporting director) Monchi and I was super excited to come to a club like Sevilla,” explains Mir.
“The next day everything was arranged and I was able to travel. In the morning I woke up singing ‘Seville has a special colour‘.
“I was clear about the step I wanted to take and, after feeling the love and desire of the club, it was easy to decide.”
“I dream of continuing to grow as a footballer. When you have an opportunity like Sevilla’s you have to take it, it’s to appreciate it.”
Mir, who joined Wolves rather than Real Madrid in January 2018, was barely handed a chance at Molineux under Nuno Espirito Santo.
And, despite scoring 16 times during a fine loan spell at Huesca last term, the return of Raul Jimenez meant opportunities were always going to be few and far between.