Steve Clarke is resigned to losing Romelu Lukaku at the end of the season following a successful loan spell with West Brom.
Chelsea were keen to send the teenager out on loan in order to gain some valuable first-team experience and it has worked in West Brom's favour with the striker netting 13 times for the Baggies.
Clarke has made it clear he would love to hold on to Lukaku for another season, but he expects Chelsea to recall him to Stamford Bridge in the summer after proving himself at the highest level.
"He is Chelsea's player. He belongs to Chelsea and he will go back there in the summer," Clarke admitted.
"I have never thought it would be possible Chelsea would let him come back next season. He came on a season-long loan and we're grateful we got him."
Lukaku has made 12 appearances for Chelsea since his £18million move from Anderlecht but he has yet to score for the Blues.