Baggies boss hoping for change of heart from Anelka.
West Brom manager Steve Clarke has admitted that he may have to persuade Nicolas Anelka not to retire from football following the sudden death of his agent, according to Sky Sports.
News broke yesterday that Anelka had stormed out of the club’s training ground and was threatening to retire after a bust-up on the training pitch, but it later emerged that he was being given compassionate leave by the club after receiving this difficult news.
Anelka, 34, only joined the Baggies this summer after leaving Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on a free transfer, and had been talked up as potentially one of the signings of the season.
The Frenchman has had a long and distinguished career in the Premier League, winning league titles in his spells with Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as impressing with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Bolton.
His career could now be coming to an end following this latest development, but Clarke remains hopeful that he can persuade the striker to return to the club after some time away from football.
“Obviously Nicolas lost a close friend and an agent over the weekend – he died suddenly,” he said.
“I had a very brief chat with him, and he wasn’t in a good place. So the club have decided just to give him a bit of time to go away and think about it and get himself in a better place for the future.
“Really, that is as much as there is to tell on the situation. It wasn’t dramatic, there was no big bust-up, he didn’t storm out of the training ground. It is just a boy who is really quite upset.”
“I’m not going to deny that he used that word [retirement] in the conversations we had with him.
“But we’ve given him time to go away and think about it and I don’t think we could do any more in the circumstances as they were.”
Anelka is one of several additions made by Clarke this summer, along with the likes of Matej Vydra on loan from Udinese, and Scott Sinclair from Manchester City.