Romelu Lukaku must respect Everton contract - Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman and Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku rejected a new long-term deal that would have made him the best-paid player in Everton's history

Romelu Lukaku must respect his Everton contract despite rejecting a lucrative new deal, says manager Ronald Koeman.

The 23-year-old striker announced on Tuesday that he will not sign a new five-year contract thought to be worth around £140,000 a week.

The Belgian also questioned whether Everton shared his ambition to play Champions League football.

"Everyone knows what can happen in football but you need to respect your contract," said Koeman.

"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.

"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.

"But I am not so afraid about his situation because the player has more than two years on his contract."

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku has been directly involved in 51% of Everton's Premier League goals this season

Lukaku, who is the Premier League's joint-top scorer with 19 goals this season, has been linked with a return to former club Chelsea, from whom he joined Everton for £28m in 2014.

He spoke to the media on Wednesday at a club-organised community event and also voiced his concerns over Everton's pursuit of several transfer targets.

"There were some players that we could have got, that I knew the club could have got, and they didn't get," said the Belgium international.

"No matter where you play, you want to be remembered. You cannot only be remembered by scoring goals, you want to be remembered by winning trophies.

"That is what the fans want. So instead of living in the past, you have to think ahead."

Koeman has not yet ruled out disciplining Lukaku for his interview, but is still hopeful the striker will extend his stay at Goodison Park.

"They are still trying to get the contract over the line," he added.

Everton, who are seventh in the league, host 18th-placed Hull City on Saturday.

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