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Lukaku granted West Brom stay

Romelu Lukaku will not return to Chelsea in January and will remain at West Bromwich Albion for the rest of the season.

Romelu Lukaku has suffered an ankle problem
Romelu Lukaku has helped West Brom to seventh place in the Premier League table.

There had been some fears at the Hawthorns that new interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez may recall the Belgium international this month and prematurely end his 12-month loan deal.

But Albion officials have confirmed that the 19-year-old will stay with them until May, after the deadline to recall Lukaku expired on Monday.

Head coach Steve Clarke has insisted on numerous occasions in recent weeks that he was calm about the prospect of losing Lukaku, but is understood to be delighted that Chelsea are happy to leave him at WBA.

Lukaku has been in excellent form and has scored seven goals so far this season and made a huge impact as Albion have made their best start to a Premier League season.

A West Brom spokesman confirmed: "He will remain at the Hawthorns for the rest of the season. Chelsea's January option to recall him expired on Monday."

Lukaku has also made several impassioned pleas to remain at the Hawthorns and continue his development as a Premier League player, rather than be a bit-part player at Stamford Bridge.

His chances of first team football at Chelsea this season have receded further with the London club's signing of Demba Ba from Newcastle United.

Lukaku has also indicated recently that he would like to return on loan at the Hawthorns next season, before eventually returning to Chelsea and trying to make an impact and justify his £18m transfer.

- Pick your Premier League fantasy squad for the second half of the season now and challenge your friends.

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