(Reuters) - Romelu Lukaku is one of the best strikers in the world and the 23-year-old need not leave Everton to realise his potential, manager Ronald Koeman has said.
Belgian media had earlier quoted Koeman suggesting the forward would have to leave the club to fulfil his ambition. The 53-year-old Dutchman said he had been misquoted and that he was keen to hold on to Lukaku.
"Of course there is a lot of interest in the player and finally the player needs to make a decision... what I tried to do is keep Romelu for as long as possible at the club," Koeman told reporters.
"All you had several headlines about what I said about different questions. It is not to defend myself but you take the headline out of context."
"What we like to show Romelu is that we at Everton will grow, we will be bigger and we will fight for titles," he said.
"If you look now at Everton, if Everton stays at this level then of course it is not good that he finishes his career at Everton because he is one of the best strikers and he is still 23."
Everton broke their club transfer fee record in 2014 when they brought Lukaku from Chelsea for 28 million pounds.
Koeman, who replaced Roberto Martinez in June this year, took charge around a time when the transfer market was abuzz with news of Lukaku leaving Goodison Park.
"He took the decision to stay because he had a good feeling with what was happening from the start of this season," Koeman added.
(Reporting by Debanjan Bose in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)