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Nov 23, 2012

Clarke hopeful of Lukaku stay

Steve Clarke will be surprised if Rafa Benitez decides to recall Romelu Lukaku during the January transfer window.

• Blog: Tough with Mulumbu out
• Benitez's plans to win over Chelsea
• Dean-Richards: WBA's good sense

Roman Abramovic's decision to replace Roberto Di Matteo with the former Liverpool manager at Stamford Bridge could bring about a fresh perspective on the summer decision to allow the Belgian international to move on a 12-month loan to West Bromwich Albion.

Chelsea have a recall option in January, although Lukaku has made it clear he would prefer to remain at the Hawthorns for the remainder of the season while an early return for the striker would present unwanted problems for Clarke.

Benitez will want to explore all options in his attempts to rejuvenate £50m striker Fernando Torres, but Clarke said: "I can't control the uncontrollable. If Chelsea choose to take him back in January then there's nothing I can do, but I'd be surprised.

"We have spoken about it (within the club) and we know exactly what we'll do if it happens. I have no plans to speak to Chelsea. Mr Benitez will have to assess his players and see what he's got. He'll want to see what he wants to do with the squad and then I'm sure he'll make the phone call to us."

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