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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Sacked Ronald Koeman had 'Olivier Giroud in the building' at Everton

Stewart Robson says Everton were right to part with Ronald Koeman after the team showed no signs of improvement.
Ian Darke says Everton's issues are more about failing to replace Romelu Lukaku than Ronald Koeman's work this season.
Craig Burley reacts to Ronald Koeman's dismissal at Everton and evaluates the candidates to replace him at Goodison Park.

Sacked Everton manager Ronald Koeman "had Olivier Giroud in the building" only to see the Arsenal striker change his mind and stay in London.

The Dutchman was fired on Monday in the wake of a 5-2 home loss to Arsenal that left Everton in 18th on the Premier League table.

But the ex-Southampton boss says things might have been different had French international Giroud come on board at Goodison Park to replace Romelu Lukaku, who joined Manchester United in July.

"I had Olivier Giroud in the building," Koeman told Dutch football magazine VI. "He would have fitted perfectly but, at the very last moment, he decided that he'd rather live in London, and stay at Arsenal.

"That was really hard to swallow. 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."

French striker Olivier Giroud was on the verge of joining Everton only to change his mind and stay at Arsenal.

"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."

Despite spending around £140m in the summer, Everton won only two of their first eight Premier League games to sit in the relegation zone.

A tough run of fixtures to start the season didn't help, with matches against five teams who finished above them in the 2016-17 season.

"I was on holiday when I received the Premier League fixture list by e-mail," Koeman said.

"I looked at it and saw that five of our first nine games would be against clubs from last season's top six: Chelsea, Tottenham, Man City, Man United and Arsenal.

"I looked at it again and 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'. And, most of all, because I had lost my striker Lukaku.''

Lukaku has netted seven Premier League goals for Manchester United this season, one behind top scorer, Harry Kane of Tottenham.

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