Clarke wants to keep Lukaku

by Michelle Fortune , 27 February 2013

Steve Clarke wants Romelu Lukaku to remain at West Brom beyond the end of this season and is hopeful he can keep the striker on loan.

Clarke signed the teenager on loan from Chelsea last season and it has proven to be one of his best decisions with the Belgium international netting 12 goals so far for the Baggies.

As things stand Lukaku is due to return to Stamford Bridge in the summer, but Clarke is keen to hold on to him and is confident he can persuade his former club to allow him to spend another season at the Hawthorns.

"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," Clarke said.

"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 spell at West Brom has afforded Lukaku the opportunity to gain vital first team experience in the Premier League, which will stand to him when he does return to Chelsea.

Clarke believes the loan deal has worked out for all concerned and regardless of what happens he is confident Lukaku will develop into one of the game's biggest stars.

"It's good for us that everybody sees he's a good player because we've had the benefit of his good performances and his goals, and it's been good for Romelu, Chelsea and us," Clarke said.

"It's a package that has been good for all three parties. For such a young player, the sky is the limit.

"He has all the attributes to be a really top player. He is very level-headed and he understands why he came here and what he has got to do in the future to be a big player at a really big club.

"We will just try to help him along the way with that. We're just pleased that he chose to come to us to get more minutes on the pitch in the Premier League."

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