West Bromwich Albion have rejected a bid of $1.3 million (£850k) from Dubai club Al Nasr for striker Peter Odemwingie.
Which makes it as good a time as ever to note that of all the players in the Premier League, perhaps it’s time to give Odemwingie a break.
After the circus that he put the club through last season, it’s unlikely that the people of West Bromwich Albion will agree.
Odemwingie began his 2012-13 in decent form, scoring five goals through mid-January. It was by no mean astounding form, but it was respectable considering Odemwingie started only half of the matches in which he featured, ceding time to a surging Romelu Lukaku. With the Belgian striker and Shane Long in fine form, rumors surfaced in late January that Odemwingie could be on his way out of the West Midlands in favor of a move to Queens Park Rangers.
After West Brom denied two bids, the second of which was around $4.6m (£3m), Odemwingie took to Twitter to sight his discontent at Albion’s decision to reject what he deemed to be a fair bid. As the transfer window was set to close, Odemwingie was under the impression that his prayers had been answered. So he drove to Loftus Road, preparing to sign a last minute contract with the R’s.
When he arrived at the West London club, Odemwingie was refused entrance at the gate after he was informed that a deal had not been completed. Reporters snapped photographs of the confused striker and later, he took to Twitter to set forth his discontent.
Those shenanigans, perhaps justifiably, earned Odemwingie a spot in the dog-house of manager Steve Clarke. But for as much as the striker irritated Albion by the manner in which he handled his potential transfer – and the way he continued to voice his discontent at not being played – the source of these outbursts came from a positive place.
Odemwingie was simply hungry to play.
Lukaku made him expendable at The Hawthorns. And, at age 32 and nearing the twilight of his career, Odemwingie just wanted the opportunity to prove himself.
Can we continue blame him for that? To do so seems a bit unfair, especially considering the impact Odemwingie has had at The Hawthorns since arriving from Lokomotiv Moscow in August 2010.
In his first season at the club he scored game-winners, solidified his status as Arsenal’s nemesis scoring in the 3-2 away victory and the 2-2 home draw, and also netted against top clubs like Chelsea and Tottenham. All in all, Odemwingie went on to score 15 times in 2010-11, earning him the club record in goals for a season.
That form saw the striker linked to a host of big clubs, from Arsenal to Juventus, but he remained faithful to the club that rescued him from racial abuse in Russia. The following season Odemwingie battled injuries but nevertheless managed to score 10 goals in 25 starts, including a hat-trick against Wolves and a brace against Sunderland.
Point being – it’s time Albion looked beyond the circus of events surrounding Odemwingie in 2012-13 and give him a fair shake at a new club.
That being said, Al Nasr’s offer of £850,000 is a joke.
You can find Mike on Twitter @mprindi