Everton Coach admits he’s grateful to have Romelu Lukaku

Ronald Koeman, the former Dutch footballer and current manager of Premier League side Everton, has maintained his earlier statements on Romelu Lukaku. The 53-year-old admits his best move during last summer’s transfer window was convincing Lukaku to stay.

Image: Ronald Koeman

Koeman adds that the player’s decision will turn out profitable as he expects to turn him into a marketable product of very high quality.

In Koeman’s view, the player already has super talents that need to be harnessed for clubs like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and other enviable European champs to come begging for his signatures.

Antonio Conte’s side were reportedly desperate to re-sign the Belgium international in the summer. However, the deal fell through after Chelsea, which sold him for £28m in 2014, found it hard to match Everton’s outrageous £60m-plus price tag.

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In a recent interview, Lukaku, who was on the verge of leaving Goodison Park last summer, said his choice to stay at Everton came from an honest conversation he had with the club’s new coach.

The Dutch coach, Ronald Koeman, was hired as a replacement for Roberto Martínez.

Koeman said in an interview: “In my position he was and is a very important player for the club and I did everything I could to keep him. But the final decision is down to the player and that’s what happened.

“It was the most significant thing that happened in the summer. We try to be prepared because he will not play [for Everton] for always. He is a big striker who will always generate interest from big clubs and from bigger clubs than Everton but the boy is 23 and he took the right decision to stay.

“He can improve and he needs to improve. That’s good because it is very difficult to get a replacement for a player who compares to Romelu, maybe impossible.

“I was a little bit afraid to lose the player. Yes, we would have the money but we don’t have a striker who would score 20-25 goals. It can be the most difficult situation but we got the decision and everybody was happy.

“Maybe we will get the same problem next season. I have read some stories about [moving in] January – no way, no way!

“Bayern Munich, Juventus, Madrid, Barcelona – he stays until the end of the season at least.

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“OK, that needs to be the next step for him and then we as Evertonian people can be proud that he made that step by scoring goals. That’s the best answer he can give on the pitch.”

“But he is strong, he has the movement, he can keep the ball and he’s one of the best. I had [Graziano] Pellè at Southampton who was very strong and tall, really fast with the feet and to move, but Rom is a better finisher than Pellè was. He is one of the most complete attack strikers we have. You can play a long ball to him. To play a long ball up to [Sergio] Agüero is more difficult but they are top strikers and Rom is only 23 years old and the best needs to come.”

The new Everton coach is the younger brother of former Feyenoord coach Erwin Koeman and the son of former Dutch international Martin Koeman.

Koeman proved himself a composed player whose versatility was utilized as defender or in the midfield. He was considered a great “sweeper”.

Koeman was described as a player with good vision and awesome ability on the ball – renowned for his long-range passing, as well as his shooting accuracy and power from distance, especially on free kicks.

The coach made history as the world’s top scoring defende; he was also an accurate penalty kick taker.

At international level, Koeman was one of the stars of the Netherlands national team, alongside Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit,Frank Rijkaard and Dennis Bergkamp. During his career with the Netherlands, Koeman won UEFA Euro 1988 and played at the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups, captaining the team at the latter.

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