Saturday, 16 March 2013

Romelu Lukaku Is The One That Got Away, Says Pulis

Tony Pulis

Tony Pulis knows exactly what damage Romelu Lukaku can do to his struggling Stoke side today – because he tried to sign him twice.

Belgian hot-shot Lukaku has proved a huge hit since moving to West Brom on loan for the season.

So far, Lukaku has scored 13 goals in a campaign that has left many scratching their heads as to why Chelsea allowed him to leave.

However, Pulis was never in any doubt about what he could do and revealed his attempts to bring him to the Britannia Stadium.

Ahead of today's clash with West Brom, where Stoke aim to improve on a run of one win in ten,
he said: “When Chelsea bought him, everybody knew about him.

“He was the greatest prospect at Anderlecht for years. We knew about him, we just couldn’t get anywhere near him.

“What was it Chelsea paid? Something like £18 million. We couldn’t get anywhere near that.

“Then I spoke to Chelsea’s first-team coach, Steve Holland, about him and he was very complementary about him.

“That was at the back end of last season just after they won the Champions League but he said there were five or six teams in for him.

“So we were aware of him but I think Steve Clarke got him because of his connections with Chelsea - having worked there for a good few years.

“Steve’s well respected at Chelsea and they gave him the nod, which is fair enough.”

Pulis admits to admiring the way the 19-year-old opted to take a loan move to get first-team football.

He believes all professionals should do that rather than sit in the reserves.

He added: “I’m a great believer that young players should go out there and play. I’m not a great advocate of players playing at youth and reserve levels.

“If you speak to Romelu, I think he would say that he found it difficult at the beginning but he’s scored a few goals and he’s grown in confidence."


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