Ronald Koeman insists he is still confident of persuading Romelu Lukaku to stay at Everton and sign a new contract.
Lukaku, who has been in protracted talks over a new deal, spoke out in frustration this week at a perceived lack of ambition and failure to land big-name players.
Koeman says he held talks with Lukaku on Thursday and told him he was unhappy with the interview, for which the Toffees boss did not rule out disciplinary action.
Koeman said: The (Lukaku) deal wasn’t agreed; 99.9% is not 100% and they are still trying to get the contract over the line. That’s what I know from the board.
Of course I am not happy about that interview because, firstly, if Everton is not a club with a lot of ambition, I wasn’t the manager in Everton.
Secondly, and I spoke with Rom this morning, I know it’s difficult but if you are a player, prepare yourself to play well and score goals – the rest needs to be done by the manager and the club.
I spoke with Rom about this project. We had several talks about the future. But I am not so afraid about his situation because the player has two years more on his contract. Of course (I am confident of keeping him) and everybody knows what can happen in football. But you need to respect your contract.
Every player has ambition, likes to play for titles, play in the Champions League. That’s a normal ambition. What we want to do and like to do is to show everyone that if there is one club out of the big six to make the next step then its Everton.
But it’s impossible to do this in one transfer window, and one season. It takes time. But this is a message for everybody; the manager and Everton is trying to get the best team it can. But there is competition.
Everton, who are three points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, host Hull City at Goodison Park on Saturday but Koeman insisted there was no reason to keep Lukaku out of the team.
His behaviour, except this interview, is what I like from the player. There is no problem, he said.
The team needs Rom, and to score goals Rom needs the team. We like to continue and keep the momentum. We are playing well and we know every game is difficult. Last week doesn’t count, this is a new game.
(c) Sky News 2017: Defiant Ronald Koeman still confident of new Romelu Lukaku deal at Everton