On Friday morning West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke revealed more about Nicolas Anelka’s future at the Premier League club.
Just to fill you in, on Thursday morning reports filtered out of the West Midlands club that Anelka had walked out of the training ground and announced he had retired.
However since those initial stories leaked out, we’ve found out that Anelka’s long-term agent Eric Manasse has tragically died. Manasse was a close friend of the French striker and he was obviously hit hard by the sudden death of his friend. West Brom have granted the striker compassionate leave and will reassess the situation when Anelka returns.
However, West Brom manager Clarke didn’t shy away from the fact that Anelka said he wanted to retire.
“I’m not going to deny that he used that word [retire]. But we’ve given him time to go away and think about it. I don’t think we could do more in the circumstances.”
Anelka has made a blistering start to his spell at West Brom, as the 34-year-old scored seven times in as many preseason games and started in the season opener against Southampton. But Clarke isn’t too optimistic about the Frenchman returning to play at the Hawthorns.
“I don’t know, because from the conversation we had the other day, it was really negative. But as I said, we have given him time to think about it. So I’d like to think he could play for West Bromwich Albion again.”
The Baggies are Anelka’s sixth Premier League club, after he won league titles with Arsenal and Chelsea and also played for Bolton, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Fenerbache, Real Madrid, and Liverpool. After leaving Chelsea in 2012 the much travelled striker played for Shanghai Shenhua in China before leaving after money problems to sign for Juventus on a short-term deal last year.
Whether or not he returns to England’s top flight remains to be seen, but the Frenchman can still score goals at the top level. He always has done. West Brom fans will want Anelka to return but it’s obvious he’s in a bad place right now and needs to grieve for his good friend and agent.