Ronald Koeman was dismissed as Everton manager last week, but would it have been any different had he been able to lure Olivier Giroud during the summer?
The Toffees spent heavily ahead of the new season on the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Davy Klaassen and Michael Keane, but have endured a difficult start to the new campaign. And the 5-2 home loss to Arsenal on Sunday was the final straw for Koeman, who was axed the following day.
It is no secret that the Dutch coach was keen to add a new striker to his options during the summer, particularly with top goalscorer Romelu Lukaku leaving for Manchester United. Giroud was his top target, and he has revealed how close he was to luring the France international from Arsenal.
“I had Olivier Giroud in the building,” said Koeman. “He would have fitted perfectly but, at the very last moment, he decided that he’d rather live in London and stay at Arsenal. You tell me, where you can get a better striker? Lukaku was so important for us, not just because of his goals.
“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 (Lukaku). All of a sudden, we were missing such a player. With Nikola Vlasic and Wayne Rooney, we had attackers who want the ball at their feet.”
The defeat against Giroud’s side leaves Everton in the bottom three, albeit on goal difference and after just nine matches. These fixtures include some of the most difficult any side could face in a campaign, and Koeman also believes this played a contributing factor to his untimely departure.
“I was on holiday when I received the Premier League fixture list by e-mail,” he added. “I looked at it and saw that five of our first nine games would be against clubs from last season’s top six: I said to myself, ‘Phew! That is not going to be an easy run, in particular with a Europa League run at the same time.’”
Former Toffees defender David Unsworth took charge as the Merseyside club crashed out of the League Cup to Chelsea on Wednesday, and he has made no secret of his desire to take the job on a permanent basis. The 44-year-old will meet with the club’s owner, Farhad Moshiri, on Friday.