Everton manager Ronald Koeman has laid down the law to contract rebels Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley and insisted the club will decide their futures.
Koeman censured Lukaku for his comments questioning Everton’s ambition, and warned Barkley he must sign a new contract before the start of next season or be sold.
It was an impressive performance by the Everton manager after a difficult week for the club, reminding his Belgian striker he has two years remaining on his Goodison deal and is no position to dictate terms.
Lukaku told Koeman earlier this week he does not want to sign a new deal but with his current contract running until 2019 the Dutch coach said the club is in a strong position.
“First of all the deal was not agreed and 99.9 per cent is not 100 per cent and they are still trying to get the contract over the line,” said Koeman.
“That is what I know from the board of the club. Of course I am not happy about that interview because first if Everton is not a club with ambition I would not be the manager of Everton. I spoke to Rom this morning and I know it is difficult but if you are a player prepare yourself to play good and score goals. We know he is one of the best. The rest has to be done with the board and the manager.
“Every player has ambition and likes to play for titles and wants to play in the Champions League. That is a normal ambition and what we need to do is show if there is one club to outside of the big six to make the next step out it is Everton. Everyone see the difference between this season and last and it is impossible to do this in one transfer window in one season. It takes time.
"Every day Everton is trying to get the best and strongest team we can have. There is always competition. Not only money is most important but if you show players good player,s the development and ambition of the team, and the club is progressing and talking of new stadium, it is enough to show club is going in the right direction.
“I spoke to Rom about this project last summer. During the season we had several talks of the future. I am not afraid because the player has two years left on his contract. You need to respect your contract.
“What you don’t like every day talking about his contract. It is up to Everton to get the deal done.
“After the international break the club will mention how the situation is.”
Koeman took a similarly hardline stance on Barkley, whose contract situation is more precarious. Barkley’s deal runs out at the end of next season.
Koeman said: “I think every situation is different. Ross is a boy from Everton and what we need to show from him is the best reasons to stay. Of course his situation is different because Ross is running out next year in the last year of his contract.
“Normally you make decisions at the end of the season, and you need to sign a new contract or you sell the player.
“There is no ultimatum, no, but it's normal, it's business, you don't give every player in his last season a contract, and I think the player by himself needs to understand this, it is not an ultimatium - I spoke to Ross about a new contract and ok it is up to the board to get that contract over the line, and if not by the player you see a new future for yourself.
“At Southampton we had Clyne and he didn't sign a new contract and we sold him in the summer. It is football, but it is totally different two and one year - by one year you need to make a decision for the club, so the club knows what will happen next year.”