Nicolas Anelka given ‘compassionate leave’ by West Brom
Frenchman believed to have suffered the bereavement of a close friend
Nicolas Anelka of West Bromwich Albion scores the second goal past Gianluca Curci of Bologna during a pre-season friendly. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
A question mark has been placed against Nicolas Anelka’s future after the striker was given permission to miss West Brom’s weekend game at Everton on compassionate grounds
The club put out a statement which said: “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.”
The 34-year-old former France international had signed a one-year deal at the Hawthorns just last month with the option of a further 12 months but is believed to have suffered the bereavement of a close friend.
He had started the Baggies’ opening Premier League game of the season against Southampton and there had been no inkling he was unhappy.
The former France striker’s international career was effectively ended after his France team-mates decided to go on strike at the 2010 World Cup after he was sent home from South Africa for verbally abusing the coach Raymond Domenech and refusing to apologise.
He started his career at Paris Saint-Germain before joining Arsenal for £500,000 as a teenager. A move to Real Madrid followed, with the Frenchman also stopping off at Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea, Liverpool, Fenerbahce and Shanghai Shenhua.
Anelka said last month that he hoped to finish his career with West Brom.
“I think I will finish in England, I’m happy here,” he told the club’s website. “I also hope that it will be with this club. I think this is the right club for me. I’m 34 years old now and I want to enjoy my football. I hope everything will be perfect.”
West Brom, meanwhile, have signed winger Scott Sinclair on a season-long loan from Manchester City, with a view to a permanent move. The 24-year-old struggled for playing time at the Etihad Stadium after joining City from Swansea last summer.
He played in only 11 Premier League games under Roberto Mancini last season and was not involved on the opening day of 2013-14. Sinclair is also well known to Albion boss Steve Clarke, who watched his progress through the ranks at Chelsea.
“Scott understands he needs to play football and it will be good to work with him again,” Clarke told the club’s official website. “We’re delighted he feels this is the right club for him at this stage of his career. He is the type of player we were missing from the squad. He is a pure winger, who is quick, direct and scores goals - he has proven that over his career. He can play off the right or left and improves our attacking options.
“I know him well and he is a good person, who I know is 100 per cent committed to our cause. He is frustrated he did not get the chances to play at Man City last season and hopefully he will take those frustrations out on Premier League defenders this season.”
Guardian Service and Agencies