If owner Farhad Moshiri decides he has the financial luxury to leave the fate of a massive offer for the player in Koeman’s hands, Lukaku will be going nowhere this summer.
Asked if he expects the striker to be in an Everton shirt next season, Koeman is predictably guarded — He hopes so, but anything can happen in football etc etc.
Yet the pay-off line he repeats emphatically is this:
“Remember, he has two years left on his contract.”
So, Ronald. If it was up to you, would you say he CAN’T go?
“If it was up to me? Yes. I would keep him for next season at least.”
If not an ideal scenario, that would appear to be Koeman’s compromise scenario – tell Lukaku he has to honour his contract for at least one more year.
That would mean, though, that in the summer of 2018, Everton would have their prize playing asset and their widely-admired manager both starting the final 12 months of their contracts because Koeman is in no hurry to extend his current commitment to the club.
Such has been Koeman’s impact, Moshiri would love to tie him down for longer but he would be wasting his time offering the Dutchman a new deal.
Koeman explains: “It is too soon, in my opinion. I don’t understand football clubs when they have a manager in and they sign a contract for three years and after six months there is talk of a new contract.”
So, another direct question:
Considering he is often linked with other jobs, will Koeman be manager of Everton on day one of next season?
“Yes, of course. I have not stopped paying rent on my house. So yes. Normally, yes.”
Koeman explains that had previous employers Southampton done a ‘normal’ thing and allowed him to go into the final year of his St Mary’s contract without signing a new deal, he would still be manager there now.
“Southampton said, ‘That is not possible. We need to know the future.’ I said I will honour my contract but I don’t sign a new contract. Everton came at the right moment because I had a problem with Southampton.”
There will be no such problem with the Goodison board.
Chairman Bill Kenwright and main man Moshiri, having secured the land for a new stadium , would love Koeman to lead them long-term. And they will demonstrate their trust by backing him heavily in the summer transfer market.
He declares: “We will invest and we will do everything to get a stronger team.
“I believe in this project and when I spoke to the chairman and to Farhad Moshiri, they are people who will go on and push. That is a really, really interesting project.
“If we decide we need better players – a defender, a midfielder, a striker – we will sign new players… and we are in a situation where we don’t need to sell players to buy players.”
Koeman takes his team to Anfield and Old Trafford in the space of four days over the next week, knowing positive results could lift fans’ hopes even higher but he is already happy with the direction the club is going in.
He says: “We are really in a good direction.
“The team is stronger and we make good steps. There are a lot of reasons to be positive and I see the difference now compared to the mood from the beginning of the season and that’s what we like.”
That mood would be even more buoyant if Koeman gets the choice and keeps Lukaku.
However that situation pans out, Koeman is certainly not concerned about how it will affect Lukaku going into a crunch time for the club.
“I know he is really committed to the club and to the team. What will happen in the future, nobody knows.”
If it is left to Ron, it will be one more year for Rom.