West Brom have confirmed that Nicolas Anelka will not be involved in this weekend's clash against Everton after granting the striker indefinite compassionate leave following the death of his agent Eric Manasse.
Reports suggested that Anelka had walked out of West Brom’s training session today, but this has been confirmed as false with Anelka not taking part in training after he learned of the news.
The Telegraph claimed that Anelka has suffered a personal tragedy with talks between him and the club failing to find an amicable solution, while Chris Lepkowski of the Birmingham Mail, who broke the news, wrote on his personal Twitter account that he understands Anelka's agent has died.
He wrote: "#wba insist Anelka has NOT retired. I understand his agent has died - which has hit him badly. What the future holds, we'll see."
A brief statement was made on the club’s official website regarding the situation, although it did not clarify whether Anelka will be retiring or not.
It read: “West Bromwich Albion can confirm that Nicolas Anelka will not be involved in Saturday’s game at Everton.
“The club have excused the striker from club duty on compassionate grounds.”
Anelka, who joined the Baggies after his contract with Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua expired, has a history of controversial incidents which earned him the affectionate nickname 'Le Sulk'.
He only made his competitive debut on Saturday in West Brom’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton after England striker Rickie Lambert scored a late penalty to earn victory.
Anelka did not train with the rest of the squad today and is believed to have been questioning his future for a number of days. He did announce when he joined the club that he hoped to retire in England with West Brom being the last of his many clubs, but it seems that day may have come sooner than most will have thought.
Anelka was at the forefront of France’s disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign, when then-coach Raymond Domenech dismissed the striker from the national squad after Anelka had insulted him following the group stage defeat to Mexico.
The remainder of the squad sided with Anelka in claiming the French Football Federation had done nothing to protect the players, and they refused to train leaving Domenech singled out as the villain.
The coach claimed Anelka could have stayed had he apologised, but he was handed a lengthy ban for his actions, which proved worthless as he immediately retired from international duty.
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