Updates from Thursday, April 17
Atletico Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil is threatening to report Nicolas Anelka to FIFA over his failed transfer to the Brazilian club.
We’re going to demonstrate that there was nothing fanciful [about the transfer] because we signed everything.
We’re going to get hold of FIFA. He’s going to have to pay for everything we spent on travel and accommodation.
Updates from Tuesday, April 15
Nicolas Anelka is not a member of Atletico Mineiro after all.
The Associated Press via Fox Sports has the shocking news:
Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro said Tuesday that it will not sign former France striker Nicolas Anelka because the player took too long to report to the club.
Atletico Mineiro director Eduardo Maluf told a media conference the player had until Monday to arrive and sign his contract. He said the club was advised by one of Anelka's agents that he would not be able to come to Brazil until the end of the week.
Maluf said it was the third time the player and his agents ''gave excuses'' for his failure to report to the club.
Maluf added: ''He had the obligation to let us know about this in advance. Atletico is much bigger than this, the deal is off.''
Nicolas Anelka has taken little time in finding a new club following his sacking at West Brom, with Sky Sports confirming that the 35-year-old has signed for Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro, according to the club's president Alexandre Kalil:
Nicolas Anelka joins Atletico Mineiro according to the club's president. More on #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 6, 2014
Kalil also communicated that the move was complete through his own Twitter account, which translates to "Anelka is a Rooster," (Atletico Mineiro's nickname):
Anelka é do Galo.— Alexandre Kalil (@alexandrekalil) April 6, 2014
Anelka was dismissed by the Baggies in mid-March after claiming that he had quit the club via social media, the incident emerging in relation to the controversial "quenelle" gesture he made after scoring against West Ham earlier in the season.
As a result, the veteran was handed a five-match ban by the Football Association, and BBC Sport reported soon after his departure from the Hawthorns that FIFA were considering the option of making his a global suspension.
Moving to Brazil marks the third continent to which Anelka has taken his club career, having had a brief spell in Asia with Shanghai Shenhua, as well as a decorated tenure among some of Europe's elite sides such as Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester City.
Opta shed some light on just how well travelled the forward is following a long professional career that began at the Parc des Princes in 1996:
9 - Played for both Arsenal & Man City in PL - Seaman, Dickov, Vieira, Sylvinho, Anelka, Toure, Clichy, Adebayor & Nasri. Answer.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 28, 2014
2 - Alex & Nicolas Anelka are the only players to have played for Chelsea & PSG in the Champions League. Capital.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) April 2, 2014
The 2014 Brasileiro Serie A season kicks off on April 20, but there is yet to be official word on whether or not Anelka's five-match ban will apply in his new South American setting.
Speaking to French newspaper Metro (h/t Sky Sports) earlier in the week, Anelka admitted that he was in negotiations with several outfits, with interest in his services seemingly high despite his advanced years:
I am not specifically looking for a club but I am receiving offers and the least I can do is check them. I haven't decided anything yet. My contract with WBA officially ended on 29 March and bar a miracle, there won't be any new challenge before the next season starts, be it in Europe or in a exotic country.
I want to play football like when I was young, connect myself again with the love for the game of my debut.
The Rooster already have one high-profile journeyman among their ranks, with Ronaldinho having spent the last two campaigns at the Estadio Independencia.
Among the club's other attacking options sits the likes of Jo, Diego Tardelli, Guilherme, Neto Berola and others, each of whom will give Anelka a tough run for his money in making Paulo Autuori's starting line-up.
That being said, the ex-French international brings a wealth of experience to the club that some of its younger members will find invaluable as Atletico Mineiro look to once again impress following last season's Copa Libertadores triumph.