Soccer-Everton set sights on transfer targets as Europe beckons
May 19 (Reuters) - Everton are setting their sights on transfer window targets as they gear up to meet the demands of European football next season, manager Ronald Koeman said on Friday.
The Dutchman has led Everton to a seventh-placed Premier League finish, guaranteeing the Merseyside club Europa League qualification at a time when local media have linked their two biggest stars, striker Romelu Lukaku and midfielder Ross Barkley, with possible moves elsewhere.
"We are already two-three months getting a picture on where we need to improve in the transfer window," Koeman told reporters ahead of Sunday's league trip to Arsenal.
"We had several meetings and we know what we want. If we can do our business this summer, the team will be really strong for the next season.
"... You know if you are seventh then you have to play Europa League football. The Champions League is the next step."
Asked how contract talks stood with Lukaku - the league's top scorer - and Barkley, Koeman said he "didn't know", though the midfielder's situation would be resolved soon.
"It is after the game, on Monday – then we will know it.... But I'm not worried, because I like to work with players who like to play."
With just two defeats in 12 games during his managerial career against Arsenal, Koeman is hopeful that impressive run can continue this weekend.
"We like to finish strong," the Dutchman added. "...We can beat them. I have a good record against Arsenal, let’s hope we keep that."
The Gunners, fifth in the league, need a win to keep their Champions League qualification prospects alive, while hoping fourth-placed Liverpool slip up at already relegated Middlesbrough. (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet)