Ronald Koeman has bemoaned the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United over the summer as a significant contributing factor to his dismissal from the club earlier this week.
The Belgian completed a £75m move to Old Trafford in July and has gone on to net 11 goals for the club so far this season.
Koeman, meanwhile, received the boot on Monday after a 5-2 defeat at home to Arsenal left them in the bottom three.
And the Dutchman, speaking to Voetball International soon after his sacking, admitted that losing Lukaku and failing to replace him was a big reason behind Everton’s demise this season.
“Lukaku was so important for us, not just because of his goals,” he said. “He had a certain way of playing as a striker. He could hold the ball, he always had an eye for the goal, he was fast.”
“If things were not going well in a game, if we could not play the way we were used to, there was always the option to use the long ball towards him.”
Koeman should have looked at the case of Tottenham Hotspur after selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in 2013 and realised that attempting to replace individual talent with an array of ‘good’ signings doesn’t have the desired effect.
Everton have a good side and shouldn’t be anywhere near the bottom three, but the loss of Lukaku, along with the introduction of various signings yet to gel and settle at the club, has left them physiologically impoverished to say the least.
Perhaps slating Koeman for the way Everton’s summer unfolded is slightly harsh: losing Lukaku would have always happened, and the impact of seeing such an important player leave – and then score against you for his new club – was always going to be cataclysmic.