Everton manager Ronald Koeman has told star striker Romelu Lukaku that he must honour his contract after the Belgian told the club that he wouldn’t sign a new deal.
Well, the 23-year-old was offered a new five-year contract that would see him become the highest-paid player in the club’s history, but he informed the Toffees hierarchy on Tuesday that he wouldn’t be accepting it as he wants to play Champions League football.
The Belgium international went a step further in an interview on Wednesday, claiming that the club don’t match his ambitions – leading his boss to hit back at his comments in his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
The Dutchman said: “Everyone knows what can happen in football but you need to respect your contract.
“Of course I am not happy about that interview. If Everton is not a club with a lot of ambition I would not be manager.”
It’s a difficult situation for Koeman, because if it was another of his other players that had criticised the club in the media, he might be tempted to drop them from the starting XI.
However, Everton rely on Lukaku for goals and the fact that he is the joint-top goalscorer in the Premier League with 19 makes it even harder to remove him from the squad as the Toffees look to secure European football next term.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the Toffees host 18th-placed Hull City at Goodison Park on Saturday, as it is potentially a match where Koeman feels his side could get the win without their prolific attacker.
The former Southampton boss is still hopeful that Lukaku will commit his future to the Merseyside outfit.
He added: “They are still trying to get the contract over the line.”
Whatever happens at the weekend it feels as though the two parties are on a collision course, and it is a situation that might end with another success for player power.