In Focus: Everton boss Koeman steps up Sandro interest

According to the Daily Mail, Everton boss Ronald Koeman and the Merseyside club’s director of football Steve Walsh scouted Malaga forward Sandro Ramirez during Sunday’s La Liga fixture with Celta Vigo.

What’s the story?

Liverpool, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur have both been credited with an interest in Malaga’s 21-year-old forward Sandro, who has scored 14 times in 28 La Liga appearances during the 2016-17 campaign.

However, according to the Daily Mail, Everton have stepped ahead of their rivals in the race after head coach Koeman made a personal check on the former Barcelona forward at the weekend.

Sandro was on the scoresheet in his team’s 3-0 win over Europa League semi-finalists Celta, and it is understood that Koeman and Walsh were both seen in discussions with the forward’s agent Gines Carvajal ahead of a potential move to Goodison Park this summer.

Everton appear certain to lose leading scorer Romelu Lukaku this summer, and whilst Sandro, who is valued at £6.8m by, would not be a direct replacement for the Belgian, a release clause of just over £5m has led to a number of clubs watching the Spaniard this season.

What are Sandro’s credentials?

Sandro, who is a three-time Spain Under-21 international, came through the youth system at Las Palmas before joining Barcelona in 2009 – spending four years in the famous La Masia academy.

The attacker’s first-team debut for the Catalan giants came during the 2014-15 campaign, and he managed seven goals in 32 appearances for Barcelona before being allowed to leave last summer.

It was Malaga that won the race to sign Sandro, and the quick striker has thrived at La Rosaleda – managing 14 league goals for a team that currently sit down in 11th position in the table.

The Spaniard might have failed to make the grade at Camp Nou, but his form throughout the 2016-17 campaign has attracted the attention of a number of Premier League scouts.

Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas is just one example of a number of players who have thrived in Spain but failed to deliver in England. Sandro, however, has time on his side, and the fact that he is available for just over £5m in this summer’s transfer window suggests that there will be a serious battle for his signature.