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Malaga hopeful Michael Santos will stay to lead the line next season

Malaga hopeful Michael Santos will stay to lead the line next season

Forward Michael Santos, who scored 17 goals in Segunda on loan at Sporting Gijón last season, is wanted back at La Rosaleda this year to provide competition up front for youngster Youssef En-Nesyri.

Despite being one of three players whose wages haven’t been halved because of relegation (Federico Ricca and Juanpi are the others), Malaga have welcomed him back for preseason training after the player turned down a reported 3.5-million-euro move to Danish side FC Copenhagen, according to Malaga-based newspaper Diario SUR.

Having already adapted to the division, new coach Juan Ramon Muniz believes keeping hold of the 25-year-old makes greater sense than bringing in an unproven player.

That said, keeping hold of him depends on a number of factors. First of all is his inflated wage; Malaga are happy for him to remain on the books but if a cash offer comes in, they could be tempted to accept and therefore be able to invest in other areas of the squad.

Secondly, Santos’ contract has a clause included which means that Malaga have to accept any offer from a La Liga club now that they have been relegated. While there is no concrete interest at present, should that change between now and the end of preseason, Malaga will need to act quickly to bring in a replacement.

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This is a similar situation to the one in which left-back Federico Ricca finds himself. Ricca has the same clauses in his contract as Santos (both were signed in the same window from the same agent) and while Malaga would prefer not to lose one of their biggest assets, it is believed that Italian side Torino are sniffing around and are considering offering in the region of three million euros for his services.