Ronald Koeman says Everton may need forgotten man Arouna Kone between now and the end of the season. The Ivorian forward, whose contract expires in the summer, has scarcely featured for the Blues so far this campaign and looked set to leave Merseyside on deadline day (31 January), but a move never materialised.

Crystal Palace were believed to be close to signing the Ivorian forward, who hasn't started a game for Everton this season, but failed to get a deal over the line. Koeman admits Kone's role in his side is "difficult" but is happy he is still at the club.

"Everybody knows that there was interest for Arouna but finally no deal," Koeman said in his pre-match press conference. "I don't know enough about the situation, what I heard from the board was that there was interest from different clubs, Crystal Palace one of them, but there was no deal and he's an Everton player.

"His role is difficult, he's not been involved in a lot of games during this season and he had some physical issues. I like the boy, I worked with him in PSV, the front players are good in fitness but if we get injuries then maybe we need Arouna and he needs to wait for his opportunity. I'm happy he's still here because he's an experienced player and we may need him."

Arouna Kone
Kone has barely featured for Everton this season Getty Images

Koeman also addressed the situation surrounding another forgotten man: the former Southampton boss revealed injury victim Muhamed Besic is close to a return to training with the first team. The Bosnian international suffered a serious knee injury during preseason and has been on the road to recovery ever since.

"Besic is doing well, maybe in two weeks he can be involved in parts of the training session," Koeman added. "I appreciate what he's doing, his behaviour, he's trying to come back as soon as possible and will be part of the sessions in two to three weeks." Koeman added that there were no fresh injury worries from the draw with Stoke City on Wednesday.