Everton boss Koeman admits seeking Lukaku replacement

Davy Klaassen of Everton is tackled by Steven N'Zonzi of Sevilla during a pre-season friendly match between Everton and Sevilla at Goodison Park

On paper, a winning goal for Wayne Rooney on his second debut as an Everton player in Premier League football, is as good as any script line could get.

Everton host Stoke on Saturday to kick off their league campaign before also hosting Hajduk Split in their Europa League play-off next Thursday.

The last duel between these two teams came back in February when veteran striker Peter Crouch netted his 100th Premier League goal.

Indeed, Ryan Shawcross embarrassingly fired past his own goalkeeper from Seamus Coleman's goalbound effort and, for a brief period, it seemed as if the goal would be ruled out for offside. The presence of elements such as Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez and Davy Klaassen should help them offset the loss of Romelu Lukaku, while Jordan Pickford is likely to provide quite a boost on defence.

Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin were signed a year ago, Ajax skipper Davy Klaassen arrived in the summer while homegrown talent Tom Davies has emerged as a player of real substance.

Everton have had deals worth up to £40 million and £45 million rejected for the Iceland midfielder this summer but Koeman said: "We are close".

"It doesn't get much better".

Stephen Ireland (leg) and Ibrahim Afellay (knee), are definitely out of Saturday's game.

Predicted Stoke Starting Lineup: Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, Zouma, Pieters; Fletcher, Allen; Sobhi, Berahino, Shaqiri; Diouf.

He's not the player of old by any stretch of the imagination and Everton need to find other alternatives, instead of relying on the boyhood blue to deliver on a frequent basis this season.

If the Toffees can become more secure at the back this season then a top-six finish will surely be in reach, with the supporters clearly believing that Keane will be a crucial man in the club's hopes of a successful campaign - here are the best tweets.

By contrast, Everton gaffer Koeman demands fast starts.

But Koeman reflected on the top sides' far superior attack forces, saying: "Compare that to the big teams and what they have on the bench - or even in the stands - it is a big difference to Everton".



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