Ben Foster has told the Birmingham Mail that Chelsea would be mad to part with Romelu Lukaku and allow West Bromwich Albion to further reap the rewards of his exciting talents.
The Belgian striker kicked off the season by scoring in a 3-0 Baggies win over Liverpool and ended it on Sunday with a stunning hat-trick as a substitute, casting a slight shadow over Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game as Manchester United manager.
Foster watched from afar as Lukaku, twice, and Youssouf Mulumbu netted in the last nine minutes to secure the Premier League’s first ever 5-5 draw.
However, the Baggies goalkeeper believes The Hawthorns faithful have seen the last of the striker, who turned 20 only last week.
“Rom came on and changed it,” the former United man said. “He was unplayable. As soon as he came on, you could see that they were physically scared of him. He dominated everything that came his way. It was a fitting send-off for him. He has done so much for us and I’m really happy for him because he’s such a nice lad.
“There’s no way he’s coming back here next season. Chelsea would be fools to let him come back with the way their forward line is misfiring. He’s exactly what they need at the minute.”
Foster was himself beaten five times in just over an hour and admitted that damage limitation was on his mind at two different stages of the game as United looked like bringing the curtain down on the Ferguson era with a spectacular rout.
A point was a more than welcome outcome but Albion have still conceded 12 goals over the final three weekends of the Premier League season, leaving head coach Steve Clarke with plenty to ponder over the summer.
“It was amazing, wasn’t it?” Foster said. “At 3-0, I hoped it wouldn’t turn into a bloodbath. They were on fire. They were taking the mick out of us.
“But we kept going and got the goal we needed just before half-time and then got a second, which made it interesting. They pulled away again and the thoughts in my mind were: ‘Please don’t let it turn into a bloodbath again'.”