Ronald Koeman has attempted to clarify the comments attributed to him by the media over the international break regarding Romelu Lukaku's future, saying that it is his intention to keep the striker at Goodison Park for as long as possible.
Sections of the Everton fanbase were concerned by Koeman's claim, as quoted by Het Laatste Nieuws in Belgium last week, that Lukaku won't have fulfilled his incredible potential if he remains with the Toffees for the rest of his career.
It's a sentiment echoed by Everton favourite Andrei Kanchelskis this morning who told 888Sport that the Belgium international should move on because, “ it is impossible for them to win the league. There are too many other very good teams now and for Everton Champions League and top-four is everything.”
Koeman was asked to elaborate on his thoughts at his pre-match press conference this afternoon by Sky Sports' Vinny O'Connor and the Dutchman smiled wryly as he pointed out how the media have, in his opinion, twisted some of his comments in recent days.
“You've had several headlines in the press about what I've said about different questions but, ok, it's not [about defending] myself because it's all about the headline you take out of context.
“But what we like to show Romelu is that we are Everton and that we grow and that we will be bigger and that we will fight for titles.
“If Everton stays on this level [without improving] then, of course, it's not good that he finishes his career at Everton because he is one of the best strikers and he's only 23 years old.
“Even if he stays for more years, that's not bad for his career because he's improving, he's learning but, of course, he is one of the better strikers that we have in the Premier League, maybe in Europe, [so] of course there is a lot of interest in the player.
“And finally, the player needs to make the decision and the club needs to make the decision to accept [a bid] or not.
“What I try to do is to keep Romelu as long as possible at the club. The problem of next summer (when big bids could come in) is the problem for the summer problem. Of course know we need to be prepared for Romelu's position but maybe also for different positions. And that's the job we need to do.”
Lukaku made no secret prior to Euro2016 of his belief that he was ready to join a club who could offer him Champions League football this season but with Everton signalling their lack of desire to sell by putting a reported £65m-plus price tag on his head, the chances of him leaving this summer were slim.
The Belgian ultimately expressed to the new Blues manager his desire to stay at Goodison for at least one more season and Koeman was asked what Everton would need to achieve this season in order to convince Lukaku to commit his future to the club beyond the final two years of his contract.
“He took the decision to stay because he had a good feeling about what was happening at the start of the season. If we show the team, the management and the Board that we are growing and improving and playing for Europe, that's the first step always for the ambition for players.”
Koeman's latest comments follow his glowing appraisal of Lukaku's potential in his interview with Gary Lineker on BBC's The Premier League Show which aired last night.
When asked by the former Everton and England striker turned Match of the Day presenter, Koeman said: “In my opinion we have the best striker. He can't improve any more in his finishing in the box. He will always score goals.
“He can improve in his defensive positions. He can improve a little bit more in his work-rate, to help the midfield and to help the defence to press but he's really a fantastic striker.”
Reader Comments (16)
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1 Posted 17/11/2016 at 18:35:10
2 Posted 17/11/2016 at 18:35:14
I'm saying nothing.
3 Posted 17/11/2016 at 18:52:35
Hopefully he nets a few soon, upping the fee before he finds somewhere he feels his ability deserves.
4 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:04:48
It would be brilliant if we could sneak into the top four on the back of some key additions in January but I suspect we'll end up handing him a dilemma by maybe making the Europa League.
5 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:13:35
The biggest team doesn't win, the best team does. NSNO!!!
6 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:16:00
He scores goals. Better he scores them for us.
7 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:42:21
I think he will always be a bit like the man who he was talking to about Lukaku and the best finisher I ever saw in the royal blue jersey.
A great goalscorer, but never a great footballer but always valuable simply because goals win games?
8 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:44:09
There is no doubt that Everton will receive massive bids and if a top European Champion League regular comes in, then he will be gone.
Best get used to it and get the best out of him while he is wearing a blue shirt.
9 Posted 17/11/2016 at 21:48:33
Lukaku is a very selfish player, as is, I guess most successful goalscorers, but he is also not really a team player. Everything has to go through Lukaku or he kind of just switches off. We don't have goals running through the team. We were probably a better team when we had Marcus Bent up front. A willing yet very limited player, Bents lack of ability but willingness to chase everything down, gave the rest of the team the chance to shoot, score, give us other options rather than just have one target man up front.
Now I'm not suggesting we should trade Lukaku for a player such as Bent, but my point was that having someone like Lukaku, who's opinion of himself is nearly as big as Mourhinos, then the team suffers as a result.
We need goals all over the park but while Lukaku is still with us he will be top dog and everything will continue to go through him. It makes us reliant on just one man. Not very healthy for us. Lineker left and we won the league. Rooney left and we came 4th.
It will make us a better team. Obviously we need to replace him with one maybe two good strikers, but, as much as it pains me to say it, we will be better off in the long run without him.
10 Posted 17/11/2016 at 22:31:25
12 Posted 17/11/2016 at 23:16:20
I think Glen Hoddle was talking about Andy Cole (could be wrong) when he said "He needs three good chances to score one"
Lukaku needs at least three. Yes, he does score, but in half a century I have never seen a player miss so many sitters for us as Lukaku.
"Can't improve on his finishing"? Yeah, I think I remember 30,000 Evertonians streaming out of Wembley saying something along those lines.
13 Posted 17/11/2016 at 23:27:32
Most likely, he'll score around 20 goals again and he'll be off.
Best striker we've had since Lineker.
14 Posted 18/11/2016 at 02:52:56
If his goal totals could be better, his off-switch does take a bit of the blame, but it's much more because his service has been godawful throughout his time at Everton. Lukau never switches off when he's expecting the ball, and there's been nobody in the side (except, briefly, Deulofeu) from whom he could expect to get the ball on time and in position. If we ever get a true #10, we'll see the true Lukaku.
And I've seen some notable improvement this season in his weakest areas, namely work rate and first touch. As for moaning at his teammates, that's a lifetime affliction that cannot be cured.
15 Posted 18/11/2016 at 07:38:37
That Hoddle quote was about Cole. I don't think it applies to Lukaku. I've seen Royle, Latchford, Sharp and Lineker miss plenty sitters. All four had better supply lines than Lukaku. If anyone out there has 'sitter stats', I'd love to see them.
He isn't as good as he thinks he is. He's still good. It's up to him how much he wants to improve. He'll need to get better for us before he moves on.
16 Posted 18/11/2016 at 08:11:09
I just think it could be the way that you have to massage Big Rom's ego, even at this early age!
17 Posted 18/11/2016 at 18:51:43