Malaga manager Michel says he will not be able to keep Everton and Tottenham target Sandro Ramirez at La Rosaleda if the 21-year-old does not want to continue plying his trade for Los Boquerones. Sandro has been in fine form for mid-table Malaga this season, scoring 14 goals in just 26 La Liga starts, and his performances have predictably attracted attention.
The Barcelona youth graduate joined Malaga last summer and has a paltry £5.2m (€6.1m) release clause in his contract. Michel, who is rebuilding his reputation in the south of Spain after a disastrous spell in charge of Marseille, is eager to keep Sandro beyond the summer but knows Malaga are not in the strongest position.
"Sandro is in demand. We cannot keep him if he doesn't want to continue," Michel told Diario Sur, relayed by Football Espana. "He is crucial, but so are others. We can't do anything more than all the efforts we have made, and all we have to do is wait for his decision."
Everton and Tottenham are both interested in Sandro, who is also believed to be on Liverpool's radar. Everton manager Ronald Koeman travelled with the club's director of football Steve Walsh to watch Sandro score his side's third in a 3-0 victory over Celta Vigo on Sunday (7 May), and the Dutchman met with the forward's agent Gines Carvajal after the match.
Everton's interest is substantial, but Tottenham have been admirers of Sandro since his Barcelona days. They were exploring the possibility of signing him before he left the Camp Nou.
Despite Michel's despondency over Sandro, Malaga star Jose Recio thinks the 21-year-old will remain at the club and should recognise the adulation he receives from those associated with Los Albicelestes.
"If I had to bet, I would say he will stay," Recio said. "He has to value the love that he has from the people, the club, the coach and his teammates. I really hope he can be here with us next season."