West Bromwich Albion reportedly received a transfer request from star striker Peter Odemwingie on Friday.
UPDATE: Friday, Jan. 25 at 4:35 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland
If you thought the Odemwingie saga was over, think again. Sky Sports is reporting that the 31-year-old striker has released his own statement regarding the team's decision not to grant his transfer request. Per that statement:
"I'm deeply hurt and in some ways offended by the lack of reciprocal common respect from the management of West Bromwich Albion. During my time at the club I believe I have delivered performances, effort and goals. I never complained when I found out that the club failed to inform me of enquiries that might have interested me and my family in the past.
"Everyone knows how much effort and commitment I always give when I play for the club. The fans have been great with me and I will always respect them.
"Some may say I have contributed, along with all my team mates, to the survival of the club in the Premier League in recent seasons. At this stage of my career, this opportunity may not come around again. A new challenge, a new opportunity, and a chance to play under the stewardship of one of the most respected managers in the game (Harry Redknapp).
"I hope the management of West Bromwich Albion will accept my transfer request in the manner that I have requested it. West Bromwich Albion may argue that I am too vital a member of the team to allow me to leave now but I could argue that team selection so far this season has not reflected that and there is more than adequate cover for my position currently in the squad, culminating in my playing out of position.
"I have not taken this decision lightly and I would like West Bromwich Albion to accept what, in my opinion, is more than a reasonable offer from QPR for me."
In other words, stay tuned; the last six days of the transfer window could get very interesting at the Hawthorns.
UPDATE: Friday, Jan. 25 at 12:34 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald
Chris Lepkowski of the Birmingham Mail took to Twitter to announce that West Brom rejected Odemwingie's transfer request very quickly:
#wba confirm they have rejected Odemwingie request.— Chris Lepkowski (@chrislepkowski) January 25, 2013
That report was verified by the club not long thereafter (h/t wba.co.uk):
Sporting & technical director (designate) Richard Garlick said: “Peter is hugely popular with our supporters and it is disappointing that he has decided to hand in a transfer request.
“It was immediately turned down and has done nothing to change our stance during January.
“Peter is under contract until the summer of 2014 and we have no need or desire to sell our core players.
“We want to keep the squad intact to enable us to build on an encouraging first six months of the season.”
---End of Update---
Sky Sports News' official Twitter page broke the distressing news for the Baggies:
Sky sources: West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie has handed in a transfer request More on #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 25, 2013
Albion has suffered three losses and a draw to lowly Aston Villa in its past four English Premier League fixtures, adding to the misery for Steve Clarke's club. It has been an especially disappointing stretch, after such a strong start to the 2012-13 campaign in which the Baggies won six of their first seven home matches.
According to a recent report by The Guardian, Odemwingie was not meant to be available during the January transfer window, as confirmed by Richard Garlick, the new sporting and technical director.
Garlick also professed a reluctance to bring in an additional player, despite the team's present struggles:
We're happy with the squad we've got and there are no immediate plans to bring anyone in. If an opportunity presents itself, then we will look at that, but we're looking more towards the summer.
In the context of that status-quo mentality, it makes sense that West Brom would want to keep its talented 31-year-old attacker in the fold.
That report also indicates that Queens Park Rangers have their sights set on acquiring Odemwingie, but the West Brom front office has already rejected an offer allegedly worth around two million pounds.
Such a destination—one of the EPL's bottom-dwellers—doesn't make much sense for Odemwingie, who is in the latter part of his playing days and eager to compete for a prominent trophy. This juncture of his career is also his last chance to cash in on a new, sizable contract.
Odemwingie has played for the club since August of 2010 and has had substantial success as a scorer. He has five goals in 19 appearances this season.