New Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho strode back into English football today and dealt an instant body-blow to West Brom’s Premier League plans.
Mourinho, formally unveiled as Chelsea’s new boss for a second spell, has made keeping Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge one of his first decisions.
Lukaku confirmed that he had been in touch with the charismatic Portuguese coach and promised his place in the Chelsea squad.
The news will not surprise Albion but it will disappoint the club after the young Belgian star’s breakthrough season on loan at The Hawthorns.
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke was hoping that Lukaku could be lured back for a second spell but that seems a distant prospect after the striker said: “I always said my ambition was to play for Chelsea.
“Now I will go back to Stamford Bridge and try and play even more games than I did at West Brom.
“If I can score a few early on, it could turn into a good season for me. I had a good conversation with Jose Mourinho and I know it’s up to me to show I’m worth a place.
“It is the World Cup next year, and I need to be playing. But if I don’t get in the Chelsea team often enough then I won’t deserve to be in the national squad.”
As a further indication of his current thinking, Lukaku has made some changes to his social network labels.
He removed pictures of himself in action in an Albion shirt and replacing it with a photo of him playing for Chelsea. He has also amended his biography which re-focuses on his parent club.
Clarke had already declared that his summer recruitment plans would be conducted on the principle of Lukaku being a ‘bonus’ signing.
He hopes to have his squad in place in time for the big kick-off on August 17, although he admitted today he would be willing to wait for the right player.
He said: "In an ideal world you want your squad together before the season starts. ut that’s not to say we won’t wait the extra two weeks to get the player that is right for our squad.”
“If we have to do that, then we’ll do that.”