'I had Olivier Giroud in the building' - Ronald Koeman reveals how close Arsenal striker was to joining Everton
Former Everton manager Ronald Koeman has revealed he "had Olivier Giroud in the building" only for the Arsenal striker to have a late change of heart about making the move.
After being sacked on Monday, Koeman pinpointed missing out on Giroud and failing to replace Romelu Lukaku as the key reasons for why things fell apart for him at Everton.
"I had Olivier Giroud in the building," Koeman told Dutch football magazine Voetbal International. "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.
"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."
Koeman also explained that he was wary about how Everton would start the season as soon as he saw the fixture list. "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.''
Following Koeman's dismissal, David Unsworth has taken temporary charge of Everton and could be offered the job on a temporary basis. Burnley's Sean Dyche, Watford's Marco Silva and former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel are also being considered.