Everton have completed the signing of Sandro Ramirez in a £5.2m transfer from Málaga.
The 21-year-old striker was unveiled as Everton's fourth signing of the summer this afternoon when a clause in his contract with the Spanish club allowing to leave if a minimum fee was offered came into effect. If further reports are to be believed, he could be followed swiftly by Michael Keane who is close to moving from Burnley in a £25m deal.
Sandro travelled to Merseyside a fortnight ago when he held talks with club officials and underwent a medical, putting pen to paper on his terms on 21st June.
Having agreed a
five-year four-year contract with the player, Everton have had to be patient for Málaga to ratify the deal, something they apparently refused to do until mandated by his release clause.
Although it was claimed by Sky Sports' Jim White, it has not yet been confirmed that Sandro will wear the famous No.9 jersey, with those details still to be confirmed.
Everton made their interest in Sandro known in good time as the 2016-17 season was drawing to a close and looked the be favourites to sign him when news broke that they had triggered the £5m release clause in his contract with Málaga.
Atletico Madrid's arrival onto the scene last month looked to have nudged the Toffees out of the way, however, with the 21-year-old known to prefer to stay in Spain. Even when Atleti were hit with a six-month transfer embargo, there were reports that Sandro might elect to stay at La Rosaleda and move to Madrid in January after he underwent a successful medical exam there.
After a week's reflection, however, the versatile forward opted for Everton where he will provide much-needed pace and firepower regardless of whether or not Romelu Lukaku remains at the club. His participation at the U21 European Championships, where he scored in Spain's second group game from Gerard Deulofeu's assist, delayed the announcement but the Blues were eventually able to tie up the remaining loose ends and confirm his signing.
“I'm very happy, this is a big step in my career,” Sandro told evertontv. “I know I'm signing for a massive club in England. Everton is the ideal place for me, I've got the ideal manager who is going to keep giving me the confidence to improve my game.
“I cannot wait to wear the blue shirt in front of the Everton fans at Goodison Park. It's a big jump in my career coming to the Premier League and for a club like Everton which is really on the up.
"They have got big plans and want to succeed and keep developing. I'm hoping I can get to know my teammates as soon as possible, and want to adapt to the football and the way of life in the city. "
Born on the Canary Islands, Sandro attracted the attention of Barcelona when he was playing for his hometown team of Las Palmas as a 14-year-old. He rose through the ranks at the Catalonian giants' La Masia academy and made his Barcelona B debut in 2013, scoring on that first appearance before going on to notch 15 goals in 61 games at that level.
Between 2011 and 2014 he represented Spain at every level between U16 and U21 before getting his chance in Barcelona's first team in 2014. Given his youth and inexperience, his opportunities were limited in one of the best teams in the world and he signed for Málaga on a three-year deal in July 2016.
In all, he scored 16 goals in 31 matches in all competitions last season, drawing the attention of Everton Director of Football, Steve Walsh, who identified him as a key target for the 2017 transfer window.
David Cartlidge, FourFourTwo
Described by beINSports USA editor and Spanish football journalist for FourFourTwo Magazine, David Cartlidge as “explosive”, Sandro promises to bring a new dimension to the Blues' attack.
“Sandro can play a variety of roles,” he explained in an interview with BBC Radio Merseyside recently. “He can play out wide and cut inside. He can also lead the line as well.
“He's not a Lukaku type; he's a different type of striker. He's extremely quick, very mobile… he's a very explosive type of player and that's the kind of player Everton would be getting.
“For a 21-year-old [his record last season] was pretty good because he was in a Málaga team that wasn't in the top half of the table; they're not one of the top teams. Sandro scored goals at the wrong end of the table, basically.
“He could do with a little more composure, anticipation in the penalty area, his decision-making and hold-up play and then could see those [goal] numbers increase even more. He's still very young.
“He could come off the bench and make an impact but we're talking about a striker that is ready to go and hit the ground running in the Premier League. He's quite a physical striker, he can handle himself very well and I think he could cause a lot of trouble in the Premier League.
“I think he could play with Lukaku or he could back him up but there's a variety of options that Everton would have so it's a very good signing, particularly for the price.”