RONALD KOEMAN revealed he knew his Everton days were numbered when Olivier Giroud snubbed a move.
Koeman had seen striker Romelu Lukaku move to Manchester United for £90million but had the Arsenal striker ready to replace him.
But Giroud made a last-minute U-turn and Koeman admitted he saw his days were numbered going into the new season.
The Dutchman, who was sacked on Monday, told the Mirror: “I had Olivier Giroud in the building. 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 (when Giroud did his U-turn), 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.’’
And Koeman was on holiday when he got the fixture list and again knew it was not going to be an easy ride.
He revealed: “I was on holiday when I received the Premier League fixture list by e-mail.
“I looked at it and saw that five of our first nine games would be against clubs from last season’s top six: Chelsea, Tottenham, Man City, Man United and Arsenal.
“I looked at it again and I said to myself, 'Phew!'
“That is not going to be an easy run, in particular with a Europa League run at the same time and a really early start with all the players because of the European games. And most of all, because I had lost my striker Lukaku.’’
Koeman oversaw Everton's biggest ever spend over a transfer market splashing out £140million on new recruits.
But the former Barcelona star insists the number insists the number is inflated as he sold Lukaku for an initial £75million, rising to £90m.
He said: “We sold Lukaku for £90m. Our most expensive signing, Gylfi Sigurdsson, cost half of that amount.
“Of course it is a lot of money, but in England the football world has different figures. All players in England cost more than what they are worth really. That is how this market operates here.”