Koeman takes dig at Man United in face of reported interest in Everton 23-year-old
By Matt Farr
Everton manager Ronald Koeman has taken a dig at Man United and insisted Romelu Lukaku would be better staying at Everton than moving to their Premier League rivals .
The 23-year-old striker is seeking a move away from the club this summer, having rejected a lucrative offer of a new contract, in a bid to fulfil his Champions League ambitions.
However, Koeman does not believe that a move to Old Trafford will grant Lukaku his wish, insisting that he sees United missing out on the Premier League’s top four this season.
Manchester United are currently one point adrift of the top four, thanks to 2-0 win over Burnley on Sunday.
The Dutchman’s comments come after United’s top goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was ruled out until the new year with a knee injury, providing a crushing blow to the club’s ambitions.
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He told the Mirror: “I cannot see Manchester United finishing in the top four. Zlatan’s injury looks bad and when I look at the amount of matches they are having to play this season, I can see them missing the top four.
“I have not been impressed by the way they play. They are struggling to decide matches. With Everton we drew twice against United this season – and both times there was more in it for us.
“Everton now have the resources to keep every player – including Lukaku, who has a contract for another two years.”
The Mirror also reports that Manchester United are looking to test Everton’s resolve with a £60million bid for Lukaku this summer, in reaction to Ibrahimovic’s devastating setback.
Lukaku has been in fine form for Everton this season, and currently tops the Premier League goalscoring charts with 24 goals from 32 appearances.
But with Everton looking set to fall short of Champions League qualification this term, the Belgium international is willing to jump ship in search of a side with European’s premier competition on offer.
However, despite his contract snub, Koeman remains confident that Lukaku will fulfil his contractual obligations at Goodison Park, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2019.
Koeman also believes that Everton have the necessary financial muscle to fight off interest from their Premier League rivals.
Football Insider verdict
Lukaku looks likely to fuel one of the biggest transfer stories of the summer, with the club seemingly locked in a tug-of-war with the player to extend his future. Lukaku wants to quit, but Everton have no intention of letting him leave, and have slapped a world-record asking price on his head to accommodate that. Manchester United could be an enticing prospect for Lukaku, because there will now be a vacancy in the starting eleven with Ibrahimovic sidelined, but it may not be quite as flattering if they don’t qualify for the Champions League. It would be wrong of Lukaku to consider a move to Old Trafford in such circumstances, having declared European football as the reason behind his decision to quit Everton. The Toffees may themselves get there one day, but Lukaku does not appear willing to wait.
In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees have been dealt a transfer blow over this 19-year-old midfielder.