Stoke City: Potters' Chelsea target Romelu Lukaku set to stay in capital
STOKE look like missing out to Fulham in the chase to sign Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku on a long-term loan.
The 19-year-old Belgium international is thought to favour staying in London after hearing of Fulham's interest.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis had been monitoring his availability ever since he arrived at Chelsea 12 months.
Discussions had taken place last August over a six-month loan for the youngster, but the move fell foul of red tape.
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Rules prevent players from signing a permanent deal and loan deal in the same transfer window – and Lukaku had just arrived from Anderlecht in an £18m move.
Lukaku is desperate for a sniff of first-team action after just one Premier League start – and Pulis saw a place for his raw power in his squad to replace Ricardo Fuller as an impact striker.
In Switzerland, meanwhile, Stoke's first-team party are not being spared at their pre-season training camp as three sessions-per-day are fitted in between 7am and 6pm.
The squad is training at high altitude, but assistant boss Dave Kemp said: "I know I'm puffing hard after the bike rides, but that would happen to me anywhere in the world, so I'm not sure what effect the altitude is having on the lads."
Mama Sidibe has enjoyed another breakthrough after surviving his first serious ball work in training without any adverse reaction to the knee he dislocated last October.
"He has done everything the others have been doing," said Kemp, "and that's brilliant for him after what he's been through."
STOKE striker Ryan Brunt has joined League One Leyton Orient on loan until the end of December, while former Potter Abdoulaye Faye is a target for Hull after being released by West Ham.
EX-STOKE favourite Mickey Thomas, now 58, is coming out of retirement to play for Warrington against City's Academy in a friendly at Cantilever Park tomorrow (7.30pm).