Published On: Thu, Feb 28th, 2013

Premier League boss hopeful of keeping Chelsea star

West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke has spoken of his hope to extend on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku’s deal into next season.

The Belgian teenager has been a revelation since signing on loan for the Baggies at the start of the season from the Blues, scoring 12 goals so far this term.

“Strong chance”

Now Scotsman Clarke believes there is a “strong chance” of the 19-year-old extending his stay at the Hawthorns.

He told the Daily Mirror: “It’s something that will come up for discussion in the summer.

“Chelsea are his parent club, he is their player and they will decide what they want to do first and foremost.

“Then after that, hopefully we will get a chance to put ourselves in the hat.

“If Chelsea want to leave him out for another season somewhere I think we would have a strong chance of getting him back here, but it is a discussion for the summer.”

The Blues paid an initial fee of £10million for the then 18-year-old, which could rise to £18million with add-ons, from Belgian side Anderlecht in August 2011.

The club spotted his talent as they looked to replace Didier Drogba, and Lukaku has been tipped to be the ‘new Drogba’ since before his time at the Stamford Bridge side.

Investment

Even though the Belgian powerhouse has only played a handful of games for Chelsea since his move, he has impressed the London club during his spell with West Brom.

However, he is still a young player and Clarke realises that Chelsea have made an investment in him and may not look to use him at such a young age.

He added: “Chelsea saw it as a long-term investment.

“We’re just pleased that he chose to come to us to get more minutes on the pitch, to get time played in the Premier League.

“It’s a package that’s been good for all three parties.

“For such a young player the sky is the limit. It’s refreshing for me as a coach to work with a young player with the attitude that he wants to be the best and improve every day.

“He’s one of those players I have to drag in off the training field and say ‘you need to get inside now, go and have a shower and get ready for tomorrow’s session’.”

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  • David Hemming

    Bit misleading – we have a strong chance of being at the front of the queue IF Chelsea decide to loan him out again, not a strong chance of him being loaned.