“I had Olivier Giroud in the building,” Koeman added. “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.”