Here we go again. It seems that just when things start to look rosy at St Mary’s, someone decides that we’ve had too much fun and that they will further their career elsewhere bringing back the all too unwelcome reminder that, to many people, our club is nothing more than a stepping stone on the way to bigger and better things. But hang on, just how much bigger and better are Everton? A quick glance at the Premier League table might give you a hint.
This move is just as much frustrating as it is puzzling. If Koeman had chosen to return to former club Barcelona or the Dutch national team, he would have done so with mine and every other Saints fan’s blessing. But to join a club who finished five places and 16 points below Southampton last season, a club whose two best players John Stones and Romelu Lukaku are likely to be sold, makes it difficult to accept.
Once again it is Saints’ ambition that has been called into question. It is the same argument Dejan Lovren and Morgan Schneiderlin spouted as they threw their toys out of the pram and demanded they move to clubs with doorways large enough to accommodate their egos. When the media probed Koeman on his Saints future recently, he said the club must show ambition. Clearly we didn’t.
Or at least not by Everton’s standards, who appear to be promising Koeman a summer transfer budget in excess of £100 million along with a handsome pay rise. Despite appearing to have his eyes fixed on competing in Europe next season, those same eyes have turned into dollar signs and whatever Saints offered him, it couldn’t tip the scales to encourage him to honour the final year of his contract.
Perhaps Koeman feels he’s taken Saints as far as he can. Perhaps he feels he has a better chance of winning trophies and qualifying for the Champions League with Everton. I’m not sure I believe that though. The cynical part of me thinks that Everton’s major shareholder and Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri has waved too much cash in front of Koeman for him to walk away.
It mustn’t be understated though the great thanks we owe Koeman for building our squad back up from the ground and providing two unforgettable, record-breaking seasons. But to make a drastic U-turn and halt the unbelievable progress we’ve been making in recent years – especially after he expressed intentions of staying another year – is a stab in the back.
A worry I have is that Koeman may rub salt into that same stab wound if he then comes sniffing around our players this summer with all his newfound cash.
Don’t even think about it RK.