French striker Nicolas Anelka has terminated his contract with West Bromwich Albion, according to BBC Sport.
Nicolas Anelka announces he has terminated his contract with West Bromwich Albion with immediate effect #wbafc— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 14, 2014
West Brom provided a statement on the club's website:
The Club confirms it has been continuing discussions with Nicolas Anelka and his advisers as part of its own internal enquiry into the gesture he made after scoring against West Ham United on December 28.Following the conclusion of the FA’s enquiry into the same incident, the Club had hoped to conclude its own investigations next week.The Club notes Nicolas Anelka’s comments on Twitter and Facebook this evening (Friday). However, the club has received nothing formally regarding the termination of Nicolas Anelka’s contract from either him or his advisers.The Club regards the release of such a statement on Social Media as highly unprofessional and will make a further statement when appropriate.
Further to the statement issued earlier this evening, the Club notes Nicolas Anelka is unwilling to agree to the conditions set by it which may have enabled his suspension to be lifted and for him to resume training.These conditions were, firstly, that the Club required Nicolas Anelka to apologise to it, its supporters, sponsors and the wider community for the impact and consequences of his gesture made on December 28 and secondly, that he accept a substantial fine.Nicolas Anelka’s purported termination of his Premier League contract this evening via Social Media was invalid as this was not conducted under the correct legal process as required by his contract.The Club considers the conduct of Nicolas Anelka on December 28, coupled with his purported termination on Social Media this evening, to be gross misconduct.As a result the Club has tonight written to Nicolas Anelka giving him 14 days’ notice of termination as required under his contract.
The journeyman forward recently came under fire for performing the Quenelle, a gesture that has been described as Anti-Semitic.
However, despite those reports, BBC Sport reports that West Brom hasn't gotten any word of his termination:
West Bromwich Albion say they have received nothing formally re termination of Nicolas Anelka’s contract from him or his advisers #wbafc— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 14, 2014
Gary Jacob of The Times reports that the Baggies are saying they're none too pleased with their veteran striker:
West brom on Anelka: club regards the release of such a statement on Social Media as highly unprofessional— Gary Jacob (@garyjacob) March 14, 2014
As shared by the Mirror's Darren Lewis, the news of Anelka leaving West Brom is hardly surprising:
Anelka packs it in to play football elsewhere after his ban. Least surprising news of the season.— Darren Lewis (@MirrorDarren) March 14, 2014
The club suspended Anelka in the wake of the scandal and fined the former Chelsea striker £80,000, as reported by the BBC, and the relationship between club and player quickly soured.
Anelka performed the controversial gesture in support of French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala and claimed he was unaware of the Anti-Semitic nature of the gesture, saying the gesture was for anti-establishment purposes.
West Bromwich already lost its sponsorship deal with Zoopla, a company partly owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, as reported by the BBC.
And with Anelka's lack of consistent production (shared by Transfer Scoop), cutting ties with the controversial forward may have been the club's only option.
Major blow for West Brom!! Not sure how they can replace a striker that's produced an astonishing 2 league goals this season. #Anelka— TransferScoop (@TransferScoop) March 14, 2014
Given Anelka's age (35), his checkered past (Anelka was sent home during the 2010 World Cup, as reported by the Guardian) and his lack of production for West Bromwich this past season, one has to wonder how much of a market there will be for his services next season.
Anelka's departure from West Bromwich ends one of the strangest developments of the 2013-14 EPL seasons, and in the end this parting of ways is the only logical conclusion to a partnership that never truly worked.