Thursday, 22 August 2013
Nicholas Anelka Walks Out On WBA
Nicolas Anelka cleared out his locker at West Bromwich Albion's training ground on Thursday and declared he is leaving the Hawthorns, less than two months after signing as a free agent.
Telegraph Sport understands the former Arsenal and Chelsea forward has been considering his future for days, after making his debut against Southampton on Saturday, and there are claims he could even now retire from the game completely.
Albion head coach Steve Clarke and technical director Richard Garlick have both attempted to persuade the former France international to change his mind but Anelka did not train on Thursday and subsequently walked out of the club.
It is believed that Anelka's agent, Eric Manasse, has died and the club agreed to grant the 34-year-old indefinite leave as he comes to terms with the loss.
West Brom announced that the striker will miss Saturday's game against Everton having been "excused from club duty on compassionate grounds".
This surprise development is the latest episode in Anelka's nomadic career, which has been blighted by persistent accusations regarding his attitude and temperament, earning him the nickname 'Le Sulk'.
Last week Clarke had defended the 34-year-old, claiming he did not deserve his unwanted reputation and insisting he will prove a huge success this season.
Anelka signed a one-year contract in July after his deal expired at Juventus and produced a number of encouraging performances in pre-season.
But now Albion are facing the prospect of losing Anelka, just one game into the Premier League season, unless the impasse can be resolved.