Everton still working on Lukaku contract, confirms Koeman
Everton manager Ronald Koeman has confirmed the club is still hoping Romelu Lukaku will sign a new contract, despite the striker indicating he could seek a move in a bid to win trophies.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Lukaku hinted that Everton's lack of ambition could lead to his exit and Koeman was unhappy with the Belgian's decision to go public with concerns about Everton's transfer policy.
But the Dutchman said Lukaku, who is the joint-top scorer in the Premier League with 19 goals this season, will remain available for selection for Saturday's Premier League game against Hull City at Goodison Park despite the ongoing speculation over his future.
Lukaku's agent Mino Raiola previously said a new contract for his client was "99.999 per cent" completed and Koeman is not concerned that Lukaku's current deal will expire in two years unless a renewal is agreed.
"First of all the deal wasn't agreed. 99.9 per cent is not 100 per cent and they are still trying to get the contract over the line," Koeman told a pre-match press conference on Thursday. "And that's what I know from the board of the club.
"Of course I am not happy about that interview because if Everton is not a club with a lot of ambition then I'm not the manager. The second is, and I spoke with Rom this morning, I know it's difficult but if you are a player prepare yourself to play good, to score goals and we know he is one of the best, and the rest needs to be done by the manager and the board.
"A message for everyone: every day Everton and the manager are trying to get the best team we can. You can show good players that they see ambition and that the club is progressing and talking about a new stadium then that is enough stuff to understand Everton is in a good direction.
"I'm not so afraid about the situation because the player has two more years of his contract. Everyone knows anything can happen in football but you have to respect your contract. His behaviour, except some quotes in this interview, is what I like in a player. No need to take him out of the team."
Koeman stressed that as long as Lukaku demonstrates his commitment while he is an Everton player, he will be continue to lead the line for the team.
"He has two years on his contract at Everton," Koeman said. "Everybody knows there was an agreement and it's up to the board to get the deal done.
"I think when we start again after the international break the club will mention a message on how is Romelu. If the player shows his commitment to the team, club, fans, even not signing a contract, is no problem for myself."