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Dec 5, 2013

Steve Clarke targets European spot

Steve Clarke wants the rest of his West Bromwich Albion squad to match Youssouf Mulumbu's ambitions and help keep the midfielder at the Hawthorns.

Steve Clarke has arrested a worrying decline in West Brom's form.
Steve Clarke has ambitions to lead West Brom into European competition.

• Evans: Crucial games

Clarke has no problems with the DR Congo midfielder expressing his desire to challenge himself at a higher level and play European football -- which will alert several of the clubs that have been monitoring him over the last two seasons.

Mulumbu's future has been in the spotlight recently following quotes attributed to him by the French media, in which it was suggested he had attracted interest from Arsenal and was eager to leave WBA.

The 26-year-old used the club's official website to issue a statement claiming he was misquoted in the article and has been questioned by Clarke over the issue.

Clarke has been placated by Mulumbu's explanation and said: "The gist of the article is that he is ambitious and what is wrong with that? Youssouf has signed a few contracts since he has been here. He likes signing contracts!"

The WBA head coach now hopes that the issue of Mulumbu's future will be put to bed for the rest of the season and he has reiterated he has no intention of selling the midfielder.

"Of course I have spoken to him and the club have also spoken to him. We are happy with his explanation and it's done and dusted for me," said Clarke.

"It is quite surprising in that he doesn't really speak to you guys [the media]. He very rarely does an interview. It came from nowhere and having the translation we've got, and speaking to Youssouf, for me it is not really worthy of further comment."

Clarke added: "I think we can satisfy a lot of the ambitions he talks about. If you are talking about Champions League then I'd be foolish to sit here and say I could satisfy his Champions League ambitions -- if that's what his ambitions are.

"But Europa League? Why not? That's something we have to build towards. Clubs of a similar level to ourselves have competed in the Europa League.

"I'm not saying this year or next year. But some time in the future, why can't West Bromwich Albion not be a club to qualify and play in the Europa League?"
 

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