Everton manager Ronald Koeman has admitted that it is a tough task for the club to replace Romelu Lukaku, who left the club to join Manchester United for £75 million this summer.
Lukaku scored 25 Premier League goals last season as Everton finished seventh but the Belgium striker’s insisted on joining a Champions League club this season.
Everton have brought in Wayne Rooney from Manchester United and former Barcelona forward Sandro Ramirez from La Liga club Malaga, but Koeman reckons Lukaku left a big hole in the Blues’ attack.
“It is difficult to replace Romelu Lukaku, I don’t say impossible, but 25 goals is a lot and we have to find other ways and productivity from other players and we like to bring in other players in,” Koeman said on Thursday during his press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Stoke City.
Former Netherlands and Barcelona star Koeman is however still expecting bids for Ross Barkley, who has refused to sign a new deal and who the coach announced was leaving at the end of last season.
“He is back in training, and that is good news for him and for us, and he has been participating in the last two training sessions,” Koeman said of 23-year-old England star Barkley.
“There is no offer on the table for us and that means he will stay at Everton. What happens in the next few weeks I don’t know.
“He has a one-year contract, he is a really good player and if someone likes to buy him it would be a big deal. I expect to have offers on the table, he made a decision to not sign the contract but if there is no interest he will stay and could be part of the team.
“I respect every ambition of every player, he is still training at Everton, training in a good way, and we will see what will happen.”