Nicolas Anelka Released from Duty by West Brom on Compassionate Grounds
Nicolas Anelka was released from club duty ahead of West Bromwich Albion's clash with Everton on Saturday, reports the BBC. The absence is based on compassionate grounds, and the club confirmed he was excused.
West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka will miss Saturday’s game at Everton after being released from duty on compassionate grounds, the club says— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 22, 2013
Anelka has since returned to the club and resumed playing.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Aug. 28
From the BBC:
West Brom say Nicolas Anelka will resume first-team training tomorrow after compassionate leave and be available to face Swansea on Sunday— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 28, 2013
UPDATE: Friday, Aug. 23
Sky Sports quotes West Brom boss Steve Clarke:
Obviously Nicolas lost a close friend and an agent over the weekend - he died suddenly. 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.
UPDATE: Thursday, Aug. 22
From Julien Laurens of Le Parisen:
Just spoke to Anelka's agent (who obv is not dead!) One of NA closest friend died last week. He is not retiring but wont be involved on Sat.— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) August 22, 2013
After initial speculation about a potential retirement following Anelka's departure from the club, Chris Lepkowski of the Birmingham Mail reported that wasn't the case. Instead, his future remains unclear after an apparent personal issue involving his agent.
#wba insist Anelka has NOT retired. I understand his agent has died - which has hit him badly. What the future holds, we'll see— Chris Lepkowski (@chrislepkowski) August 22, 2013
Lepkowski added the following:
Just to clarify, the agent who died was NOT Nicolas Anelka's brother. It was a guy called Eric Manasse. #wba— Chris Lepkowski (@chrislepkowski) August 22, 2013
The 34-year-old striker joined West Brom on a free transfer less than two months ago after being let go by Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua. He started the season opener for his new club last weekend against Southampton.
His long and winding career has included stops with high-profile clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Manchester City, among others. The veteran's last stint in the Premier League came with Chelsea a few seasons ago.
What his future holds is now the biggest question mark. West Brom clearly viewed him as a key piece for the attack for the upcoming campaign, but are now forced to shuffle the lineup until Anelka makes a decision about how to move forward.
Even in the latter stages of his career, Anelka has been a reliable attacking presence. Although he rarely stayed at any one club for an extended period of time, he almost always found a way to make a short-term impact. The Baggies were hoping for a similar results.
It's still a possibility, although the outcome is now far less certain following his release on compassionate grounds. Based on the Birmingham Mail report, it sounds like the personal issue is taking a serious toll on him currently.
More information about his status should be available in the coming weeks.
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