Ronald Koeman is not prepared to be held to ransom by his Everton players, having insisted he is "not afraid" of Romelu Lukaku's contract situation and warned Ross Barkley to sign a new deal or be sold.
The Dutchman was angered by Lukaku saying his desire to play in the Champions League and win titles, combined with Everton's failure to attract the best players, are the reasons behind his decision not to sign a new contract which his agent claimed was "99.9%" done.
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With the Belgium international having more than two years remaining, Koeman said he was not overly concerned at present. But there was a more pointed message aimed at Barkley, whose improved recent form has earned him an England recall, and who is about to enter the final 12 months of his contract.
Regarding Lukaku's comments, Koeman said: "Of course I am not happy about that interview. If Everton is not a club with a lot of ambition I would not be manager. But I am not so afraid about his situation because the player has more than two years on his contract. Everyone knows what can happen in football but you need to respect your contract."
He took a different tone in relation to Barkley: "Ross is a boy from Everton and what we need to show for him is the best reasons to stay and of course his situation is different because his [contract] is running out next season.
"Football is a business and you make decisions at the end of the season. He needs to sign a new contract, if not you need to sell the player. It is not an ultimatum but that is normal – that is business.
"When I was manager at Southampton we had [Nathaniel] Clyne and he did not accept a new contract so we sold him in the summer. I spoke to Ross about a new contract and now it is up to the board to get that contract over the line.
"The player has to understand if he does not sign a new contract by one year [left] you need to make a decision for the club so it knows what will happen next year."
Koeman said he would not drop Lukaku for Saturday's match at home to Hull City. "He has no problem. He is training how he needs to train, his behaviour – except some quotes in this interview – is what I like from the player and there is no reason to put him out of the team. The team needs Rom and Rom needs the team to score goals. "
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Koeman has not ruled out disciplining Lukaku for his interview, conducted at a club-organised community event, but said Everton would make a considered decision on that.
He added: "First thing is you speak with the player, then I will speak with the board and we will see what will happen but then we have the inte