Everton manager Koeman ready to take 'next step'

Everton finished 11th in the Premier League under Roberto Martinez last season but new boss Ronald Koeman has lofty ambitions for the club.

Ronald Koeman is ready to take the "next step" with Everton after being presented as the new manager of the club on Friday.

Koeman switched Southampton for Everton on a three-year deal on Tuesday, replacing Roberto Martinez at the Goodison Park helm following an 11th place finish in the Premier League.

After two successful seasons in charge at St Mary's Stadium, the Dutchman, who brings brother Erwin as assistant manager and fitness coach Jan Kluitenberg with him, is aiming to take his team to new heights.

"I think to be part of this big, great project for the next couple of years is fantastic and a great feeling," said Koeman.

"The most important [thing] is that they show that ambition to grow, to win and everybody knows the history of Everton, it's a big history and it's nice to be part of that.

"Everybody in the club is ready to take the next step and I am one of them. It's always more easy to get that next step in a big club.

"Everyone in the club is hungry to come back and put Everton in the place where Everton needs to stay. That's good and we will do everything to take the next step."

Koeman's arrival comes amid uncertainty over the futures of important players John Stones and Romelu Lukaku, but the Dutchman is keen to retain their services.

"I have that experience in my last two years – always a lot of interest in the players," added Koeman.

"First of all we like to keep all these kind of key players, because you don't sell your best players, but that's about meetings I will have with these kind of players, then we will see what happens.

"Of course I will talk to several players. Lukaku is a key player, he is a goalscorer. You don't want to lose one of your best players so if I can do something I will.

"I like to help everybody. First of all I'd like to talk to him [Stones] personally and see what his feeling is and then make conclusions."

Koeman been criticised for a lack of loyalty following his Merseyside move but revealed a lack of job security on offer at Southampton encouraged him to switch allegiances.

"After the season I had a meeting with the board of the club and the first option was to go into my third and last year of my contract, and that was not possible," he said.

"There was no way to sign a new contract and we did not agree, and through that whole story Everton was showing that kind of interest.

"Southampton gave me permission to talk to Everton and I'm the new Everton manager, and that's all I'd like to say about Southampton."

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright added the former Southampton boss was his, and investor Farhad Moshiri's, first choice to replace Martinez.

"I think he made his impression before we met him, and when the sad day came when Everton said goodbye to Roberto, Farhad and I sat down and he was absolutely the first name," said Kenwright.

"He's very much the choice of the board and from what I can gather, and I can gather quite a lot, a big, big choice for Evertonians.

"We've spent a bit of time together and I said I've rarely felt such unanimity from the fans of any signing. He knows he's got our total support and we are really grateful he's chosen us."