Former Everton manager Ronald Koeman has named the failure to sign Olivier Giroud as one of the reasons for his sacking.
The Dutchman left Everton on Monday with the Toffees in the relegation zone after nine Premier League games and just five wins all season – three of which came in the Europa League qualifying stages.
Everton sold star striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United during the summer for £75million but failed to find a suitable replacement, bringing in an ageing Wayne Rooney who has spent the past few seasons playing in midfield and Sandro Ramirez who has struggled.
However, Koeman has revealed he was close to signing Arsenal striker Giroud before the Frenchman changed his mind – a decision the Dutchman believes cost him his job.
“I had Olivier Giroud in the building,” Koeman told Dutch football magazine VI.
“He would have fitted perfectly, but at the very last moment he decided that he’d rather live in London and stay at Arsenal.
“That was really hard to swallow. You tell me, where you can get a better striker? Lukaku was so important for us, not just because of his goals. He had a certain way of playing as a striker – strong.
“He could hold the ball, he always had an eye for the goal, he was fast. If things were not going well in a game, if we could not play the way we were used to, there was always the option to use the long ball towards him.
“All of a sudden [after Giroud’s decision], we were missing such a player. With Nikola Vlasic and Wayne Rooney, we had attackers who want the ball at their feet.
“When you are struggling as a team with the build-up from the back, and we no longer had the option to kick it long, you know you have a problem.”
Without Lukaku, Everton have scored just seven goals in the Premier League this season – the same amount the Belgian has for his new club.