Another Russian legionnaire will change clubs in the summer transfer window. The former Lokomotiv midfielder and youth squad player Nikita Iosifov terminated his contract with Villarreal, but will remain in Spain. The 22-year-old winger moved to Mirandes and played in Segunda (the second division of Spanish soccer).
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What a promising start to Iosifov’s career at Villarreal! And how it all ended… In one season, everything changed completely, white suddenly turned black.
In the summer of 2021, Villarreal signed the Russian for five years. This indicated that the Spanish club believed in Iosifov and seriously counted on his progress. The coach of the ‘yellow submarine’ Unai Emery took Nikita to the training camp of the main team and praised him after the first training sessions. In addition, our young legionnaire scored in his debut with the base-“Victoria” in the 1/64 final of the Spanish Cup. The midfielder got into the candidacy for the Champions League match with Manchester United, he made his debut in the Spanish championship, coming on as a substitute in a match with Mallorca.
Unfortunately, the first game of the Example has so far been the last for Iosifov. In the 2022/2023 season, the Russian has only played for the Villarreal estate club, which has been promoted to Segunda. But even in the second division, Nikita received a minimum of practice. He appeared in only 13 games and made the starting lineup only twice in August 2022. In addition, the midfielder has made 11 appearances from the bench and 21 appearances as a reserve. Sometimes Iosifov was not even included in the application.
Photo: Silvestre Szpylma/Getty Images
Nikita’s only effective action in the last year was a goal in the match against Cartagena in March 2023. In discount, with the score 4:2 in favor of the “yellow submarine”, the Russian won a penalty, which he himself converted. After that, Iosifov made a little scandal. He put his finger to his lips, standing next to the podium of the fans of the guests. This is how our midfielder reacted to being booed. The head coach of the country club “Villarreal” Miguel Álvarez was forced to apologize at a press conference:
“I want to apologize to the Cartagena fans. They traveled many miles to watch the game and should not be treated like this. The boy was wrong. You need to sympathize with the child, because he has not played for a long time. Of course, his reaction was not the best.
At the end of the season, only four Villarreal country club players played less than Iosifov. Of course, the Russian did not go to Spain for this. Álvarez’s team finished the championship in 18th place, six points from the relegation zone. Sporting de Gijón scored the same number of points, Mirandés, who ranked 16th, had two more points. And it was Mirandés that became Nikita’s new club.
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Despite the fact that the “boars” finished above the “yellow submarine”, the transfer can hardly be called a step forward for Iosifov. Rather it is just an opportunity to stay in Spain and in the Second Division. Still, in Villarreal, Nikita had a chance to play in the Example, if he became the best of the second team. However, the Russian legionnaire agreed with the former club to terminate the contract that was in force for another three years. At the same time, the contract with Mirandes was concluded for a shorter period, until the summer of 2025.
Iosifov’s new club has a rather long history. It was founded back in 1927, so it is at the gates of a century. However, he never played in the top division of Spanish football. Basically, the “wild boars” hung between the third and fourth league, even falling to the fifth for a couple of years. But in the 2010s there was spectacular progress. Mirandés was promoted to the third division and, based on the results of the 2011/2012 season, earned a ticket to the second.
In addition, in that successful season, Mirandes achieved a unique achievement in the Spanish Cup: he reached the semifinals! There, however, he fell under “Athletic” Bilbao, lost in the sum of two games with a total score of 3:8. And in the 2019/2020 season, the ‘boars’ managed to climb once again to the semifinals of the Spanish Cup. The future winner of the trophy, Real Sociedad, lost on aggregate with a more decent score of 1:3. So, Nikita gets to the cup team. It is hardly worth waiting for a fight for a ticket to the Mirandés elite, and the Spanish Cup may be the tournament where Iosifov shows himself before the clubs of Examples.
Who will the Russian have to compete with in Mirandes? Since Iosifov, as a rule, plays as a winger, his competitors will be wing midfielders. We can say that the circumstances are in favor of Nikita.
All of Mirandés’ main midfielders/attacking full-backs, Roberto López, Juanlu Sánchez and Óscar Pinci, are leaving for the summer transfer window. They played on loan and returned to the clubs to which they belong. Like striker Raúl García, the team’s top scorer (scored 19 goals) and assistant (8 assists) in the entire season Examples. In addition, three more attacking midfielders from Mirandés left: César Gelabert, Nico Serrano and Javi Llabres.
According to Transfermarkt, today Iosifov is the most expensive player in Mirandés (estimated at €800,000). But there just aren’t enough players on the team right now after all the losses. The club signed the Girona winger Gabri Martínez, who played last season in the third division on loan (5+4 in 36 games). In general, this is so far the only player of the same role as Nikita. There is also the enigmatic attacking midfielder Nacho Castillo, who has gone 0-0 in six games for Mirandés over the past year. Obviously, the “wild boars” will continue to have signings.
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It remains to add that the club is based in the Burgos town of Miranda de Ebro. It is presented in the municipal stadium, which has a capacity for 5759 spectators. The 37-year-old Italian Alessio Lischi, who led Levante in the Example in the 2021/2022 season, was appointed as the new coach: the team under his direction played 23 games and added 8 wins with 4 draws and 11 losses.