Jewell angered by agent's defence of Chimbonda transfer request

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The Independent Online

Paul Jewell, the Wigan Athletic manager, has been left amazed by Pascal Chimbonda's agent's version of the events which led to the French defender submitting his transfer request.

The right-back asked for a move just minutes after Sunday's final game of the season, a 4-2 defeat at Arsenal. Jewell and the chairman, Dave Whelan, were angered by the actions of Chimbonda, who joined Wigan last summer for £500,000 from Bastia.

Chimbonda has been put up for sale for £6m, with the comments of Willie McKay, his agent, rankling Jewell. "I saw one quote where he said Pascal panicked in putting in his transfer request because he didn't think I was going back on the bus," Jewell said. "He [McKay] must be a mind-reader because how he knew that, I don't know, and then he said the player did it because he was going on his holidays.

"Well, the players knew they were coming in today, so he could have easily handed in his request today.

"He also said that Pascal saw Wigan as 'a stepping stone'," Jewell added. "Well if we are a stepping stone, why did he sign a new contract in January?"

Jewell had his players in for an end-of-season briefing, with Jimmy Bullard in to say his farewells after recently agreeing to a £2.5m move to Fulham, and all were present except Chimbonda.

"I told him to stay away," stated Jewell. "I don't think the players would have been too welcome towards him, and I didn't really want to see him anyway.

"I've no problem with players asking for a transfer. I'm a big boy and I know it happens, but it was the manner in which it was done that upset me.

"His team-mates didn't deserve what he did to them after the game on Sunday."

The bitter feud does not necessarily mean Chimbonda's days with Wigan are numbered, however, as Jewell added: "You never say never.

"The scenario is simple. If somebody gives us the money we want then he can go.

"But if he doesn't go, he stays here and gives his best and he is the best right-back in the club, then he will play.

"If he doesn't want to give his best then he won't play, but I'm not totally resigned to starting next season without him."

Jewell, meanwhile, has released the centre-back Stéphane Henchoz and midfielder David Thompson.

Henchoz signed a one-year contract last summer and was a key figure in the club's stunning start in the Premiership. Thompson joined Wigan during the January transfer window on a short-term contract after being released by Blackburn.

"Stéphane has played a major part in our season, in particular at the start when his experience was crucial," Jewell said. "He has been an absolute model professional.

"Thommo is a good little player, but he has found it difficult, in particular as he has had a couple of injuries. He is very unlucky because you could see what he's capable of at Arsenal.

"So it was a tough decision," Jewell said. "But I've just thought for next season we will try something different."

Reto Ziegler, who was signed on loan from Tottenham in January, has returned to White Hart Lane.

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