Cyle Larin’s Real Mallorca career hasn’t quite had the same explosive start that he enjoyed at Real Valladolid at the start of 2023, but the signs are promising.

The Canadian men’s national team’s all-time leading scorer has started just one of Mallorca’s first four La Liga games of the season, coming off the substitutes’ bench in the other three. However, he started his side’s most recent game, the 0-0 draw with Athletic Bilbao before the international break, although he was taken off after 56 minutes.

A month ago, his new manager Javier Aguirre said pretty bluntly that Larin wasn’t fit enough to be considered to start, but fast-forward four weeks and he’s much closer.

Aguirre told reporters this week in the lead-up to Mallorca’s trip to Celta Vigo on Saturday: “I see him at 80 percent [ready]. I see him out there [soon].

“It’s not tangible but I see him being close to what we want. He is a humble and hard-working boy; he is shy, but he dares. He’s integrating into the family, he’s going to give us a lot.”

Having two weeks of rest and training under his belt, with CanMNT not in action during this international window, will hopefully serve Larin well. He has been working as an understudy to Kosovan striker Vedat Muriqi who scored 15 La Liga goals this season, but there is a hope that Larin may be able to form a partnership with the man that he could soon supercede as Mallorca’s record signing.

Aguirre’s latest update on Larin’s fitness is certainly more promising than last month’s, when he claimed that “he spent 30 days doing nothing in his country” over the summer “and it shows.”

After scoring eight goals in 19 games for Valladolid in the second half of last season, including back-to-back goals in his first two games as a substitute, Larin joined Mallorca in a deal worth an initial €7.5 million ($11 million CAD). That makes him Mallorca’s second-biggest signing ever, per Transfermarkt, behind only the €8 million deal which brought his new strike partner Muqiri to the club from Lazio last year.

Larin’s transfer could rise to €8.2 million ($12 million CAD) based on his performance and related bonuses, and that would make him their all-time record transfer.

For now, he’ll just be hoping he gets a chance to keep his starting spot, last more than an hour, and start finding the net.