After Romelu Lukaku’s potentially controversial interview dropped last night, everyone knew that Everton manager Ronald Koeman would receive a barrage of questions about the striker’s comments this morning.
True to form, one of the first he was asked was regarding the deal that was ‘99.99999% done’, but then it appeared that the player and the club were at a deadlock over a buyout clause.
“First of all, the deal wasn’t agreed. 99.9% is not 100%, and they are still trying to get the contract over the line, and that is what I know from the Board.”
He went on to comment on what Lukaku said in the interview -
“Of course I'm not happy about that interview because if Everton is not a club with a lot of ambition, I would not be the manager here.
“I spoke with Rom this morning and I know that it's difficult, but if you're a player, you prepare yourself to play good and score goals. We know he is one of the best, and the rest needs to be looked after by the manager and board of the club.
“First you speak with the player. I will speak to the board and see what happens. We have the international break now and we have enough time to do what we need to do.”
Regarding Lukaku questioning Everton’s transfer policies -
“It is normal for a player to be ambitious and to want to compete for trophies and play in the Champions League. We want to show everybody that Everton is the one club outside of the big six to make that next step.
“I think everybody can see the difference between this season and last season, but it is impossible to do this in one transfer window or in one season. It takes time.
“My message to everybody is every day Everton is trying to get the best and strongest team we can.
“But there’s always competition, and it’s not only money. The most important thing is for good players who can make the team stronger to see ambition in the development of the team and the club. We are talking about a new stadium and that is enough to show that Everton is going in a good direction.”
On the need for Lukaku to show more patience with Koeman’s Everton vision -
“I spoke with Rom about this project, the first meeting was in the summer. During the season we have had several talks about the future.
“I am not so afraid about his situation because the player has two more years on his contract. Everybody knows what can happen in football, but you have to respect your contract.”
Koeman was insistent that no disciplinary action was required for Lukaku -
"There is no problem. He is training how he needs to train. His behaviour, except for some quotes in the interview, is what I like from the player, but there is no reason to put him out of the team.
"The team needs Romelu to score goals and he needs the team so he can score goals, and we like to keep the momentum. The team is strong and is really playing well. We know every Premier League game is difficult, what happened last week does not count anymore, and we start a new game for this Saturday.”