Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has given his biggest hint yet that striker Romelu Lukaku will be allowed to spend the whole season on loan at West Bromwich Albion.
The 18-cap Belgian international has been in fine form for the Baggies this season, notching five goals for the Premier League surprise package.
That contracts with the poor form of Fernando Torres, who has netted just once in his last 11 appearances in all competition for the Blues.
Despite the lack of goals at Stamford Bridge, interim chief Benitez believes the 19-year-old will be better serves staying at the Hawthorns, with regular first-team football imperative to his continued development.
"We know Romelu has been doing very well for West Brom," Benitez told The Sun.
"But it's maybe best for him to stay there where he is playing games for now, as it will be better for his future development."
Lukaku has already made it clear that he hopes for a prolonged stay in the Midlands, after helping Steve Clark’s side push towards the Champions League places.
Competition is fierce for a starting spot at West Brom, with Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie also in good form, and it appears to have brought the best out of the former Anderlecht starlet.
"I don't think about the option. I am very happy to be here for one year. Hopefully, this season will end very well and we will see what happens in the future," Lukaku told the Wolverhampton Express and Star recently.