Club News

Baggies Luk in thanks to Clarke

Rom reveals how boss convinced him Albion was right move

ROMELU Lukaku says Steve Clarke’s persistence and the sound advice of a couple of ex-Baggies persuaded him The Hawthorns was the perfect place to continue his development.

The 19-year-old striker, who joined Chelsea in a big-money move from Anderlecht last summer, was being chased by a host of Barclays Premier League clubs after the West Londoners gave him the green light to leave on loan to get game time.

The Baggies won that race yesterday evening, when ‘Rom’ put pen to paper on a season-long deal before travelling to Nottingham Forest to watch his new team-mates win their final friendly 2-0.

Lukaku has now revealed why he chose Albion, claiming the desire shown by ex-Stamford Bridge favourite Clarke to secure his services proved a major factor.

He said the high esteem with which current Chelsea boss and ex-Baggies promotion-winning head coach, Roberto Di Matteo, and his assistant Eddie Newton still hold for the Black Country outfit also proved decisive.

“I’m really, very happy to be here – there are nice people around,” said the Belgium international, who is training with the team for the first time today before jetting off for international duty.

“Since the first day I spoke to Chelsea about going out on loan, I’ve spoken to the gaffer here a lot.

“He was the first person who contacted me and that means a lot.

“He’s been speaking to me every week since – even when I was in America with Chelsea – asking me about my situation.

“When you have a gaffer like that who has a desire to bring you to his club, as a young man, you feel confident to make the step into the unknown, because I don’t know the Birmingham area that well. 

“But I believe that will be good for my development as a young man and I’m very happy to be here.

“This club really convinced me a lot, also with the stadium and the fans.”

Lukaku added: “I heard lots of positives about the club from Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton.

“They really convinced me to come here.

“Frank Lampard and John Terry also spoke highly about the gaffer.

“When you get that advice as a young player, you listen and hopefully this is a good step for my career.”

With the league opener against Liverpool a week away, Lukaku is fully fit and raring to make an impact after conducting his pre-season preparations with European champions Chelsea.

And he has certainly done his homework on his new team-mates and club.

“I was told I could come up to West Brom on Thursday night and I was happy,” he reflected.

“I jumped in my car and drove up.

“I already feel really settled.

“I now have to get to know the players and hopefully perform well for the club and the fans.

“But I already know a lot of about the team.

“West Brom have given Chelsea some difficult games over the last couple of seasons.

“They also made it difficult for Manchester United on the opening day of last season.

“This is a good team where I can learn. I want to work hard and learn a lot. It will be good for my development as a young man.

“Before I signed, I watched a lot of West Brom’s games and I know they’re a good footballing team.

“They have quite exciting players – the likes of Thomas, Morrison and Long, who scored a lot of goals last season. They’ve also got good defenders like Steven Reid and Jonas Olsson.

“Hopefully, I can get to know all the players’ qualities so I can fit into the team very quickly.

“I want to finish as high as possible with the club next season and score goals.

“I don’t want to say a target but if I get off to a good start, and fit myself into the team, hopefully we will have a great season and keep the fans happy week in, week out.

“Then I can hopefully go back to Chelsea and make a bigger impression on the first team.”