Romelu Lukaku, the striker currently on loan to West Bromwich Albion, has told Chelsea not to expect him back at the club until the end of next season, after revealing that negotiations to extend his spell in the Midlands until the summer of 2014 will begin shortly.
Lukaku scored twice on Saturday in West Brom's shock 3-2 defeat by Reading, in which they conceded three goals in the last eight minutes after cruising at 2-0. The 19-year-old also hit the post and crossbar.
With Fernando Torres, the £50m Chelsea forward, continuing to struggle, it had been suggested Lukaku might return from his season-long loan to his parent club this month. But Chelsea have allowed him to continue his development under Steve Clarke at the Hawthorns.
The Belgium international has even hinted at a possible permanent transfer to his adoptive club, where he is enjoying playing regular first-team football.
"At the end of my career, if I have had a chance at a really top team I think I will be a very happy man. We will see if I get that chance at Chelsea," Lukaku said. "The next two years will be good for me at West Brom. They will help me build up for a great career, that is for sure.
"Hopefully, I'll be here for the next two years. It will be very important to play and have a good squad. We have a manager who is very good, we've very good players that can help him every day and hopefully, if I continue like this, I will get more regular football.
"I think it will be more beneficial to stay here than go back to Chelsea. There are not talks about it yet, but we will see; hopefully after the January window we will be able to start talking about that."
Chelsea have a history of forwards leaving the club after joining with promising reputations, including Adrian Mutu, Andrei Shevchenko, Hernan Crespo and Mateja Kezman. Lukaku may join that list, but for the time being he is enjoying life at West Brom.
"I am happy here because I am playing, but I am not happy, at the moment, because we are not winning," he said. "I play football to win, I always want to win.
"I have a strong affinity with West Brom already. You have to be somewhere where you are connected with the people. You have to be in a good environment.
"Where I am now is similar to when I was in Anderlecht. Nice people, people [who] want to improve; everyone is open to you. That's why I have settled very well here.
"I went from two years playing regular football [for Anderlecht] in the Europa League, Champions League, then one year [at Chelsea] I didn't play, so I know football can change very quickly."
Lukaku, who joined Chelsea from the Belgian club for £18m in August 2011, has scored nine goals in 20 appearances for Albion.
Adam Le Fondre, Reading's joint top scorer this season with six goals, wants a regular starting spot in the team after his penalty helped his side to a third league win of the season.
"I am not too fond of coming off the bench," Le Fondre said. "I would prefer to start. It's a role I have got for the time being, but I want to start. I love being on the pitch. I'm just going to have to bide my time and wait for my chance to get back in the team. It's a good message that we score goals when I come on the pitch."Reuse content