St Johnstone unfazed by Francisco Sandaza contract 'snub'

By Jim SpenceBBC Scotland
Francisco Sandaza celebrates
Sandaza has scored 12 goals for St Johnstone this season

St Johnstone say they have no interest in selling Francisco Sandaza in the current transfer window even if he rejects a new deal beyond the summer.

The striker's agent says the 27-year-old is poised to turn down Saints' offer.

But Steve Brown told BBC Scotland: "We have no intention of selling Fran.

"We still want to finish in the top six and have a good Scottish Cup run and it would not be in the best interests of the club to sell him."

Indeed, Brown retains hope of retaining Sandaza beyond the end of the one-year contract he signed after being released by Brighton in the summer.

"He is our main goalscorer and we are currently in discussions with him about a new contract," said the chairman.

"He is under contract until the end of May. Obviously, if a ridiculous offer comes in from someone, we would have to consider it, but there are not too many of those going around at the moment.

"There has not been one bid or even one enquiry for Fran at present.

"We have started negotiations with him about a new deal. He has had talks with the manager and talks about a new deal are ongoing."

The Spanish striker has netted 12 times in 17 appearances on his return to the Scottish Premier League, where he shone with Dundee United before suffering injury problems that continued after his move to English football.

Rangers have even been touted as a possible destination should the Scottish champions sell in-demand striker Nikica Jelavic and Sandaza's agent, Clive Jagger, says the player's ambitions lie beyond McDiarmid Park.

"His contract finishes in May and, although St Johnstone have made a very, very generous offer for him to continue at the club, it's not really what we're looking for," Jagger told STV.

"Our intention is to move on at the end of the season to hopefully bigger and better things."

Jagger confirmed he has had conversations with clubs in Scotland, England, Spain and the United States about Sandaza but anticipates a move at the end of the campaign is more likely than a transfer during the current winter window.

"It may be a case of letting that contract run out and seeing what options we have for next season," he admitted.

"Understandably, St Johnstone are not going to be asking peanuts for the player. They want reasonable compensation."

Sandaza's goals have helped Saints into fifth spot in the SPL, level on points with Hearts and within two of third-top Motherwell in the race for the two Europa League qualification spots.

Last week, St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas said that, although it looked like Sandaza could leave in the summer, it would have to be beneficial to the club before they would sell him during January.

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