Everton’s third summer signing is Malaga’s Sandro Ramirez and I got the lowdown on the striker from Freelance Football Writer Simon Harrison who specialises in Spanish football.
Can you give us a short overview of Sandro’s career?
Sandro joined Barcelona back in 2009 as a youth player, but found it rather tough to eventually make regular first-team breakthroughs. With the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez ahead of him, it was never realistic that he would be anything other than a sporadically used rotation option, and he knew that. He was kept at the club during their transfer embargo, to help them out while they couldn’t bring in any other players, before being released in 2016. Malaga snapped him up on a free, and he went on to score 14 La Liga goals last season for a team that struggled for consistency both on and off the pitch. It was only in the last couple of months of the season under Michel that they put together some good form, they went through two managers before him, and Sandro was a big part of that.
How excited should Evertonians be?
I think that it would probably be best not to get too carried away, as it may take him a bit of time to adjust to life in England – he’s never played outside of Spain domestically before. That said, he is quick and can handle himself physically, so he shouldn’t have too much problem stylistically. For the price that Everton will be picking him up for, he has the potential to be one of the bargains of the summer, but he certainly won’t be replicating Romelu Lukaku’s figures.
Sandro is very mobile, he has a good turn of pace and is quite an explosive player. He loves to get in behind, and shouldn’t be bullied by centre-backs. He is something of a free-kick specialist, too.
Why was his price so low?
In Spain, minimum-fee release clauses must be included in all players’ contracts. After being released by Barcelona, Sandro wanted to prove himself at a club where he would be guaranteed to get minutes – he didn’t want to have another scenario where he was sat on the bench. Malaga snapped him up, but by his agent negotiating a low release clause, it ensured that a good season at La Rosaleda could translate into another move elsewhere. Nobody would be scared off by a 6 million euro figure, but Malaga will be disappointed that they can’t keep hold for another year at least. They got a good season out of him, mind you! Without his goals they could have been dragged into the relegation battle.
How was he used?
Sandro lead the line on his own, as Malaga would normally use a 4-2-3-1 formation with talented young midfielder Pablo Fornals playing as a number 10. He is comfortable coming deep to collect the ball, running the channels, or nipping in behind the opposition back four to use his pace. I’d say he is a quite well-rounded striker, but it might be in the air where he isn’t quite as strong as in other areas. He will still put himself about aerially, but he isn’t the tallest.
Sandro doesn’t mind sitting on the shoulder of the last defender if the opposition are holding a high line, so I’d probably say that a number 10 or forward-thinking midfielder are the best ways to release him into the pockets of space in behind that he enjoys getting into.
Will he be a hit at Everton?
I wouldn’t expect Sandro to post up Lukaku figures, nor hit the same amount of league goals that he did last season in LaLiga, but fans should like him. He works hard, is determined to prove himself at the highest level after being let go by Barcelona and has a World Cup on the horizon that he’ll be targeting attending with Spain. I wouldn’t be surprised if he scores a couple of free kicks, either!
Big thanks to Simon for giving me his views.