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Koeman: It's Difficult For Everton To Replace Lukaku

Koeman: It's Difficult For Everton To Replace Lukaku”

"They've seen that with Tom last season and I'm sure it will help him now to kick on and keep developing".

It is believed, Newcastle United are leading the chase to entice the Scottish-born player away from Merseyside, though local reports suggest Everton will only consider a sale if their £25m valuation is met. "If all the big ones are really strong and doing what they need, it is very hard".

"He is looking forward to proving a few people wrong as well". The Dutchman brought Everton from 11th place the last two seasons up to 7th last season and managed the Toffies to 14 more points than they won last season.

"They've got a good side and they've spent money from letting good players go, perhaps similar to Southampton a couple of years ago. And if you think it's a really tough start maybe it is different because everybody is not on his best at this stage of the season, the end of the pre-season".

Midfielders Ross Barkley and James McCarthy are out with groin and knee injuries respectively.

Ibrahim Afellay (knee) and Stephen Ireland (broken leg) are the only absentees as they continue to recover from long-term injuries.

Chelsea and Manchester United have both put their faith in big-money strikers as they bid to win the Premier League title this season.

The Toffees' only success in their opening match in the last nine Premier League seasons came in 2012-13, beating Manchester United 1-0 at Goodison Park.

Stoke's only previous victory on the opening day of a Premier League season came in 2009 (D3, L5).

Manager Mark Hughes says Saido Berahino, whose fitness was questioned last season, is "in great shape".

Gareth Barry could feature in his 21st Premier League season, a record only bettered by Ryan Giggs (22).

If Kompany stays fit, City's status as Premier League favourites looks understandable but if he gets injured again, it might not matter how many goals they score at the other end. "We couldn't have played against a team that has spent more".

"If they add Gylfi Sigurdsson to the squad pot too, then Ronald Koeman surely has the ingredients to make it a "magnificent seven" scrap at the top rather than the usual "big six". It shows they're in business and they want to challenge the top teams.



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