West Brom striker Romelu Lukaku does not expect to return to Chelsea in January.
And Lukaku has even hinted at the possibility of rejoining the Baggies on loan next season.
The Belgium international joined the Blues from Anderlecht in 2011 but found first-team opportunities difficult to come by in his debut season at Stamford Bridge.
He has impressed, however, under Steve Clarke’s tutelage at the Hawthorns, leading to speculation that Chelsea could recall the 19-year-old during the upcoming transfer window.
But when asked if he had been in direct contact with new manager Rafael Benitez, he told West Brom’s official website: “No. I know what is going on. For me, it is one-year loan.
“Then hopefully it may be one year again because I need to play as much as I can in the next two years.
“When Chelsea call me I answer the phone and we talk. They ask me how I feel and I tell them every time I’m very happy to be here and playing.
“They know this season I’m improving and when I go back there I want to be a much better player than when I arrived there.
“My main ambition is to start in the first XI in every game at Chelsea, so I think for me it’s a good start here because last year I learnt a lot but didn’t play that much.
“This for me is the first year in the Premier League, I’m still learning and there are many challenges I have to pass.”
Lukaku, who scored the winning goal in West Brom’s 2-1 victory against Norwich on Saturday, insists that talk of Chelsea exercising his recall clause has always been premature.
The Antwerp-born forward believes that the Blues do not need him to return imminently but says that his relationship with the club has not been affected by his lack of appearances for them.
“There has never been any talk about me going back in January,” he said.
“They are doing well in the league so I don’t think they need me back. They don’t need me at this point.
“Chelsea know I’m a player that is hungry to play football and they will benefit from that in the future.
“It is my parent club, I love the club, I don’t have negative problems with them. It is a good club.”