Mainz - "Everyone has forgotten that we’re going through a huge upheaval," points out 1. FSV Mainz 05 sporting director Christian Heidel when asked about his club’s slow start to the season under .
'Had to put our feelers out'
After guiding the club to seventh last season, their inspirational coach of four years, Thomas Tuchel departed along with several key players. His Danish replacement has struggled: Mainz crashed out of the UEFA Europa League and the DFB Cup at the first hurdle, while two draws have offered a
to Bundesliga reality. Consequently, Heidel undertook a marathon of transfer negotiations late in the summer window, culminating in five new players arriving at the Coface Arena: Philipp Wollscheid, Sami Allagui,
, Pablo de Blasis and
"The timing of Nicolai Müller’s
to Hamburger SV was pretty tough for us," admitted Heidel, who had already seen his club’s frontline decimated by the loss of
to FC Schalke 04 and
to FC Augsburg. "We had to put all our feelers out to find a wide player." They found two: the arrival of Jairo and Hofmann have excited fans of the
enough to forget the club’s below-par start to the season. “We’ve wanted Hofmann since before he even broke onto the scene with Borussia Dortmund," said Heidel. "His style of play fits perfectly with ours. We’ve also had our eyes on Jairo for a while, who was excellent as Sevilla FC won the Europa League last season. He’s quick, can play on both flanks, and is technically and tactically good."
'I am Jairo'
Hofmann, who has two Bundesliga goals to his name already at Dortmund under former Mainz coach Jürgen Klopp, is a known quantity. Jairo, however, is something entirely different. "In Sevilla, I was likened to Jesus Navas a lot," said the 21-year-old Spanish youth international. "But I am Jairo and I do my own thing."
He certainly does his own thing; in this instance rejecting the well-trodden young footballer’s path of a loan deal in favour of moving abroad. "There were other offers, and one from another Spanish club to take me on loan," he told Germany's leading sports magazine
. "I didn’t want a loan deal though, I wanted a real transfer. It was a tough decision to take because I don’t speak any German, but the coach really wanted me. The club’s interest really impressed me and gave me lots of confidence." For the new arrival, who began training with fitness work this week, the pull of the Bundesliga was tough to resist. "The Bundesliga has real appeal," he claimed. "My style of football is really going to fit in well. In Spain, the game is a bit more defensively oriented, but here in Germany I’ve got a much better opportunity to show my attacking qualities. I’m really impressed by the stadiums and the atmosphere in the Bundesliga."
Time to accelerate
Indeed, Heidel spoke of Jairo’s amazement at Mainz’s
when he was shown around before signing up, although his debut is likely to take place away from home on
. "I’m really hopeful of being in the squad in Berlin," the Spanish newcomer said. "I want to give it my all, and the most important thing is that I help the team. Once you start doing that, that’s when the good performances and goals come." Mainz, Heidel and Hjulmand may have been through a "summer of upheaval", but amidst the tumult, by the sounds of things, the club have stumbled on a gem. Jairo, oozing confidence, might just be the sort of signing who'll reignite the