Di Matteo: Lukaku will go out on loan

The Blues boss has announced that the forward may have to move away from Stamford Bridge in order to gain first-team experience, but insists Daniel Sturridge is in his plans
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has revealed that striker Romelu Lukaku may have to move away from Stamford Bridge in order to gain first-team experience.

The 19-year-old has struggled to break in to the first team since joining the club for a reported €16.5 million (£13m) from Anderlecht in August 2011, and is yet to score in just eight appearances for the Blues.

The teenager was viewed as a long-term replacement for Didier Drogba and is now likely to be loaned out, with Di Matteo's former club West Bromwich Albion reported to be among the potential suitors.

"At this stage of his career the most important thing is to play," Di Matteo told reporters.

"It might be a bit more difficult here with us so it's the best choice to let him go out on loan."

Di Matteo has not wasted any time in making additions to his squad, with Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Brazilian playmaker Oscar all completing moves so far this summer.

The Italian did not, however, rule out the prospect of making further signings for the 2012-13 campaign.

"We are a little bit light in a couple of positions and we've got one or two young players who are interesting but we will see what is going to go on and see what happens when the market closes," he added.

Another player who has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge is striker Daniel Sturridge, but the former midfielder has claimed that the youngster remains firmly in his plans.

"He is part of the squad, of the team, and still has a lot to give," Di Matteo insisted. "He still has a lot to learn as well but we are hopeful he can develop even more and become a great player for us.

"He did very well to recover from his illness in a short period of time. He is a very exciting player and it's great for him to be involved in the England squad.

"Daniel has the ability to play in more than one position. He made it quite public he likes to play as a number nine but there is competition, which is good, and we will see as the season starts who is going to play."