Everton manager Marco Silva claims he wants out-of-favour striker Sandro Ramirez to stay despite the Spaniard seemingly being destined for the exit.
The 23-year-old, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Sevilla, surprisingly made his first appearance for the Toffees since December 23 in the 3-1 Carabao Cup second-round win over Rotherham.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first of the season broke the deadlock in the 28th minute before Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice, his second coming moments after Millers substitute Will Vaulks’ 86th-minute header had raised hopes of a late comeback.
Sandro, who provided the cross for Sigurdsson’s goal, looks set to join Real Sociedad before the close of the European transfer window on Friday and while Silva admits injuries to a number of squad members meant he had little choice but to play him, he maintains he does not want him to leave.
“It is not easy when you change eight players but knowing at this moment we have some problems with injury to our players I had to take the decision,” said Silva.
“Even with what has happened with Sandro I believe in him, he showed me tonight he is a fantastic professional and for me I am not surprised.
“Even if I knew someone called up in the next hour and it is something Sandro is trying to find, I would like if I would stay with him in the squad because he is a player I believe in.
“Sometimes the players want to play more and it is not easy to keep all of them.
“It is not easy to play in our starting XI for all, not just Sandro. Sandro, of course, wants to play, last season wasn’t the best for him and we will see what will happen.”
Uncertainty also surrounds the future of Ademola Lookman, who spent the second half of last season on loan at RB Leipzig with the Bundesliga side already having had two bids rejected to take him back permanently.
The 20-year-old was left out due to an injury concern but, oddly, Silva said he could be ready to resume training on Thursday.
“It is a small problem with his groin. We will see if he can start to work with the team tomorrow,” said Silva.
Asked whether the continued speculation was a distraction he added: “It is not easy to lose my focus with this type of thing.
“I understand football, I understand the market and I understand everything what has happened but since the market has closed for us here, our focus is to to see what the best solution is for us as a club to work with our players to prepare them in the best way to play.”