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Page last updated at 06:54 GMT, Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Anderlecht's Romelu Lukaku rejects Premier League move

Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku scored two goals against Russia in November

By Jonathan Stevenson

Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku will disappoint a host of Premier League clubs by committing his short-term future to the Belgian champions.

The 17-year-old has been strongly linked with Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United in recent months, as well as Spanish giants Real Madrid.

But BBC Sport understands Lukaku, who was the Belgian league's top scorer last season, will not move in January.

He has already scored 13 goals this term with Anderlecht top of the league.

Lukaku burst on to the scene last year as a 16-year-old in Belgium, scoring 15 league goals as Anderlecht cruised to the Jupiler League title.

At some point Romelu will have to move because of his incredible talent

Anderlecht's Silvio Proto

He made his international debut in March in Belgium's 1-0 defeat at the hands of Croatia and bagged his first two goals for his country in an impressive 2-0 friendly win in Russia in November.

Lukaku has been constantly linked with a move to either the Premier League or La Liga in Spain, but at a pre-arranged news conference in Brussels on Thursday he is expected to reiterate his desire to stay at Anderlecht at least until the end of this season.

Silvio Proto, the Anderlecht and Belgium number one goalkeeper, told BBC Sport he hoped Lukaku would prolong his stay at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.

"It is obviously for Romelu to decide how long he stays with us, but I hope I can play with him for as long as possible," said Proto. "At some point he will probably have to move because of his incredible talent.

"I must say, he is simply brilliant, both as a human being and as a footballer. Romelu is an intelligent person and he is very well advised by his parents and the club.

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"If he continues as he has been doing, he will reach the top level of international football. I am sure he will succeed because he has the will and the talent.

"He never talks about the rumours. We joke about it in the dressing room, but he focuses only on two things: his school work and his football.

"There is a lot of attention on him, but the club helps him with that. He is protected by our media manager and the social manager who organises his schoolwork, which enables him to concentrate on the important things."

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho is thought to be a huge admirer of Lukaku, while Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo hailed him as a "fantastic player" last month.

"He has to make his own choice but I'm sure that he will have a great career," added Ronaldo. "At 17 when he is not playing in a major championship, he has managed to make himself known to many people like me."

Lukaku ensured Anderlecht would spend Christmas Day at the top of the Belgian league when he rifled home the first goal in a 2-0 victory at fierce rivals Club Bruges on Sunday.

Read Jonathan Stevenson's blog on the career of Romelu Lukaku on the BBC Sport website on Wednesday.

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see also
British sides learn Europa fate
17 Dec 10 |  Europe
Wednesday's gossip column
01 Dec 10 |  Gossip
Thursday's gossip column
18 Nov 10 |  Gossip
Anderlecht 3-0 TNS (6-1 agg)
03 Aug 10 |  Europe

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