Sandro Ramirez & that Cursed Number 9 Shirt: Where Do We Go Now?

If social media is anything to go by, we are meant to take whatever is posted at face value; what you see is what you get. However, as a modern day footballer, particularly at an elite level, there are a horde of PR experts encoding meaning into your next post & articulating about how that Twitter or Instagram post will be perceived by an anticipating fanbase.

As for Sandro Ramirez, after a gruelling first season in English football which saw him jump ship back to his native Spain, his adamancy to remain in Seville after last seasons loan seems to have diminished as his latest post points towards the 23 year-old sticking with the Toffees ahead of pre-season under Marco Silva & new Director of Football Marcel Brands.

There is a long way to go before Silva & Brands have their desired squad for the season ahead, with what is assumed to be may incomings & outgoings alike & if last season is an indicator, Sandro may well have been one of the first out the door. His hold-up play was poor, his movement left a lot to be desired & his lack of impact led many to acknowledge that the once symbolic number 9 shirt donned by legends such as Dixie Dean, Bob Latchford & Greame Sharp has lost it’s allure.

Sandro himself symbolises the catastrophic Summer transfer window of 2017, where Everton, like a spoilt brat with a few quid in a sweet shop just seemed to splash cash for the sake of it, with no strategy or blueprint behind the acquisition of players. Whereas many of those players are yet to deliver on their high transfer fees, the signing of Sandro was something that was commended by fans & media alike. Triggering a £5.2 million clause in his Malaga contract seemed like foolproof business, if he was a hit his value would rocket, if not, the fee was minuscule in comparison to the £30m paid for Davvy Klaassen or the initial £25m paid for Michael Keane. Not bad for a La Masia graduate who found the net 14 times in La Liga prior to joining the Blues.

Thanks to his accomplishments in Spain, there is a consensus about Sandro that there is a lot more to come, as shown in glimpses such as his pre-season finish against Sevilla last year & his well taken goal in 5-1 mauling at the hands of Atalanta at Goodison. Such glimpses beg the question that if Marco Silva is to utilise Sandro, just where would he fit in?

Silva looks to have his heart set on emulating a robust 4-4-3 system, which is the formation which Sandro would have been schooled in given his Barcelona roots. This bodes well as Silva will have common grounds to associate with Sandro as both are familiar with the formation & a lot then depends on Sandro’s ability to acclimatise himself to whichever role he is given whether that be on the left, the right or through the centre.

This pre-season ahead is huge for Sandro, as pictures emerging from recent training sessions that he now has a manager who believes in him & is willing to give him a go. There are a lot of areas to be improved such as his physicality, his sprint speed & ability to hold up the ball, but with a manager who will make the right calls, there is every chance dignity could be restored to the infamous number 9 shirt.

Max Carlyle (@Max_Carlyle)

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