West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka has been given time to consider his future.
The French striker only joined the Baggies in the summer, but following the death of his agent Eric Manasse, he has been granted compassionate leave. Manager Steve Clarke has now confirmed that Anelka has told him he wants to quit the game, which would bring an end to an eventful 17-year career which has taken in 11 clubs.
However, the Albion manager is hopeful that given time, the 34-year-old will decide to prolong his playing days at the Hawthorns. The Scottish coach has also denied reports that the player, who has in the past earned the nickname ‘Le Sulk’, stormed out of the training ground on Friday, insisting he has the full support of the club.
“Obviously Nicolas lost a close friend and an agent over the weekend – he died suddenly,” he said. “I had a very brief chat with him, and he wasn’t in a good place. So the club have decided just to give him a bit of time to go away and think about it and get himself in a better place for the future. Really, that is as much as there is to tell on the situation.
“It wasn’t dramatic, there was no big bust-up, he didn’t storm out of the training ground. It is just a boy who is upset. I’m not going to deny that he used that word (retirement) in the conversations we had with him. But we’ve given him time to go away and think about it and I don’t think we could do any more in the circumstances as they were.”