The Wigan Atheltic manager, Paul Jewell, has launched a scathing attack on Pascal Chimbonda following the defender's surprise decision to ask for a move.
The Latics chairman Dave Whelan also made his feelings clear on the subject after Chimbonda handed in a transfer request before he had changed out of his kit following Sunday's 4-2 defeat at Arsenal. Whelan has slapped a £6m price tag on the Frenchman and warned him that unless they receive such a fee, he will rot in the reserves for the remaining two seasons of his contract.
Jewell, who is fully behind Whelan's actions, has admitted to being left "quite speechless" at what transpired. "I was standing ready to shake the players' hands as they came off the pitch and to congratulate them on a magnificent season in leading this club to a miraculous top-half finish in the Premiership," Jewell said. "The player came up to me, still dressed in his kit, and handed me his transfer request, along with a note to thank me and the club for all our help this season. To say I was livid was an understatement.
"We have had two meetings this week with him to discuss the future and had made it clear we would not stand in his way if the right offer came along. So to then be treated this way shows a quite spectacular level of disrespect to myself, the chairman, to all his team-mates and to the supporters. I reiterate the player will not go on the cheap. The price is £6m and we will not let him go for less."
Chimbonda's agent, Willie Mackay, insists the player acted of his own volition, claiming: "I never got Pascal to do anything. He did it himself. We will now see what happens. It's up to Dave Whelan. He is the chairman, he holds the contract and he can say what he wants."
The asking price could deter long-time admirers Tottenham Hotspur, particularly after missing out on a potential £20m windfall with failure to qualify for the Champions' League.
It is unlikely any club will want to pay that kind of money for the 27-year-old, who was plucked from relative obscurity last July. Chimbonda joined Wigan from French club Bastia for £500,000, with his stellar displays leading to the renegotiation of his contract in January, and the removal of an escape clause that would have allowed him to leave on the cheap.
Tottenham, Manchester United and Newcastle United have all been linked in recent weeks with Chimbonda, who was named in the Professional Footballers' Association team of the year.
* The German referee Herbert Fandel will take charge of tomorrow's Uefa Cup final between Middlesbrough and Seville in Eindhoven. Fandel, 42, has not officiated at a match involving either team before. A Fifa referee, his last appearance in Uefa competitions was in charge of the Champions' League quarter-final second-leg tie between Juventus and Arsenal in Turin last month.Reuse content