Koeman: I'll try and keep Lukaku for as long as possible

Thursday 17 November 2016  16 Comments  [Jump to last]
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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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Dermot Byrne
1 Posted 17/11/2016 at 18:35:10
Great scorer but let's be honest. Can be a bit idle at times. Also moans at team mates when he messes up. And hold up play not brill. But...great scorer and I like the lad. Has intelligence.
Darren Hind
2 Posted 17/11/2016 at 18:35:14
"He cant improve any more on his finishing in the box"?

I'm saying nothing.

Alan Bodell
3 Posted 17/11/2016 at 18:52:35
Good move by Koeman, bigging him up for the players confidence (as if he fucking needs any) and to get him in the shop window for January while Walsh and Co are out window shopping.

Hopefully he nets a few soon, upping the fee before he finds somewhere he feels his ability deserves.
Lyndon Lloyd
4 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:04:48
Lukaku's not going anywhere in January. The club won't sell and he himself said at the start of the season that he'd stay the remainder of the season at least.

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.

Sebastian Donoghue
5 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:13:35
"Impossible" when talking about any other club outside the big four winning the league, even after last season.

The biggest team doesn't win, the best team does. NSNO!!!
Paul Tran
6 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:16:00
Ah, come on Darren, you're teasing us now!

He scores goals. Better he scores them for us.

Tony Abrahams
7 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:42:21
I agree with what I think Koeman is trying to say, Darren, because I also think Lukaku will always score goals.

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?

Mike Berry
8 Posted 17/11/2016 at 19:44:09
Ronald says it as it is.

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.

Dave Ganley
9 Posted 17/11/2016 at 21:48:33
He is a great goalscorer and will probably continue to be so. To be fair to Lukaku, he has delivered for the last 3 seasons, even allowing for barren runs. However, and I'm going to reach for my tin hat now, Everton will probably do better in the long run without him.

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.

Brent Stephens
10 Posted 17/11/2016 at 22:31:25
Just keep scoring the goals, lad, and see what happens at the end of the season.
Darren Hind
12 Posted 17/11/2016 at 23:16:20
Paul & Tony,

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.

Liam Reilly
13 Posted 17/11/2016 at 23:27:32
There's an undercurrent irony here where, should Lukaku have a poor season and the club gamble and retain an elevated price, then with Koeman's additions in the summer, he may stay and we may see the best of him.

Most likely, he'll score around 20 goals again and he'll be off.

Best striker we've had since Lineker.

Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 18/11/2016 at 02:52:56
Not sure what missed "sitters" Darren is talking about, because I've only seen a handful, but I'm with Koeman, fore and aft. Lukaku is nearly state-of-the-art as a finisher on the ground, although he could be better in the air for his size.

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.

Paul Tran
15 Posted 18/11/2016 at 07:38:37
I half agree with you, Darren. He is in no way complete as a finisher. I still think he's got a long way to go to get his dream move.

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.

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 18/11/2016 at 08:11:09
I agree with you, Darren, on the basis that everyone can improve on everything, but I read Koeman as saying that he can improve on the other aspects a lot more, because he probably doesn't want to work on that side of his game as much, as he does on wanting to score goals?

I just think it could be the way that you have to massage Big Rom's ego, even at this early age!

Soni Samuel
17 Posted 18/11/2016 at 18:51:43
Bosman, train "The Beast" to have a better touch first then unleash him... the rest will fall in place!!

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