Esmael Goncalves set to leave St Mirren in summer

ST MIRREN will be forced to part ways with loan striker Esmael Goncalves after being told the striker will be sold in the summer.

• Esmael Goncalves will not stay at St Mirren beyond summer, parent club confirms

• Goncalves will be sold for around £500,000 in summer as English and Spanish clubs close in

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Hopes of extending the Portugese forward’s loan deal were extinguished as Rio Ave told the Buddies that they were seeking a £500,000 fee for Goncalves in the summer.

Goncalves, who has been a revelation since arriving in January, helped St Mirren win the League Cup against Hearts as they ran out 3-2 winners.

Goncalves scored in that game and against Celtic in the semi-final of the same competition.

Rio Ave president Antonio da Silva said that Goncalves has attracted interest from England and Spain, and admitted that the striker has exceeded expectations during his loan spell in Scotland.

“I can confirm Goncalves will not stay at St Mirren.

“The agreement was for six months and after that he will return to Rio Ave.

“I don’t think St Mirren have the finances to buy our player. We are in the position to listen to offers as we are willing to sell the player. If the right offer comes around, we will talk.

“I have to admit Goncalves has done exceptionally well at St Mirren.

“He has proven he can be a great player for a bigger club and that opportunity may come to him very soon.

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“I have been approached by several European clubs, especially from England and Spain.”

Meanwhile, Goncalves, who hauled St Mirren level after Hearts scored the first goal, spoke of his delight to win his first major trophy, and the transformation he has undergone at St Mirren.

“The lack of opportunities at Rio Ave left me out of shape, lacking self-esteem and things did not work out for me,

“I’m glad I took the opportunity to try life in Scotland with St Mirren. Things really have worked out for me here. I have a good understanding with the manager and my team-mates.”