Struggling in the early phases of the 2017-18 campaign, Everton and Ronald Koeman are probably happy about this international break, which will allow them to sit down and analyse where it’s all going wrong.

Of course, their inability to replace Romelu Lukaku properly has caused them to struggle in front of goal, but it’s no secret the Dutch manager wanted to bolster his defence some more, with Thomas Vermaelen one of his targets.

A failed transfer deadline day deal saw the Belgian centre-back remain at Barcelona at least until January, and, now on on international duty, the 31-year-old revealed the reasons behind his club’s decision to keep him.

He told DH: “The board told me they needed four centre-backs. I didn’t have a choice but to stay. Clubs tried until the very last day, like Everton, but it was impossible. I wasn’t even able to negotiate.”

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The only way he would have been allowed to leave on such short notice was if a club agreed to pay his release clause, like Paris Saint-Germain did to get Neymar, but no one stepped forward, probably for good reason.

The Everton target added: “Unfortunately, my release clause is very expensive (€80m). Who was going to pay that?”

For someone who has spent the best past of the last two to three years injured, Vermaelen certainly has a point.

Of course, his situation could very well change in January, especially if Barcelona manage to get a fourth defender in, at which point Everton might come knocking.

Although, it remains to be seen if Ronald Koeman will still be the Toffees’ manager by that point.