West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka has been granted indefinite compassionate leave a month after penning a one-year deal with the Baggies, following the death of his agent Eric Manasse.
Anelka, who made his competitive debut for West Brom in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Southampton, will not be available for tomorrow’s game at Everton, with reports suggesting he’s considering an untimely retirement from the game.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City striker told Baggies boss Steve Clarke he wanted to quit, but the Scot hopes he will return to the club once he has “got his head clear.”
“I went in and had a very brief chat with him, and he wasn’t in a good place,” Clarke said on Friday in his pre-game conference. “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.
“There was no big bust up, he didn’t storm out.
“Retirement? When you’re not in a good place those thoughts can come into your mind.
When quizzed if the 34-year-old considered retirement, Clarke said: “I’m not going to deny he mentioned (retirement). He hasn’t trained this week (because of a knock). I was preparing team for Everton without him,” Clark added.
West Brom became the sixth Premier League club the striker, who won titles with Arsenal and Chelsea, has featured at.
He also played for Liverpool, Manchester City and Bolton and lifted the Europa Champions League with Real Madrid in 2000.
The Frenchman revealed on his Facebook page that: “I cannot find the words to express my sadness.
“I am shocked by this news that has affected his friends and family. Eric will leave a huge hole in our lives.
“I send my condolences to the Manasse family after his tragic death.”