- Premier League
Clarke: Agents misadvised Odemwingie
West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke is hopeful wantaway striker Peter Odemwingie will still stay at The Hawthorns, but has blamed his agents for misadvising him.
Odemwingie, 31, who is wanted by Queens Park Rangers, has caused controversy recently by asking for a transfer request, as well as criticising the club on Twitter.
However, Clarke has made it clear he wants to retain the Nigeria international's services beyond Thursday's closure of the transfer window, despite criticising both the stance the player has taken and his agents' involvement in proceedings.
"We said that at the start of the window we didn't want to lose players and we're sticking with that," Clarke said. "What I want to say is that it's unfortunate because it's a situation that didn't have to develop. QPR have put two bids in that we've turned down because they weren't acceptable in this window. The ball is back in QPR's court and they have to decide whether to make an increased bid.
"He has been really badly advised and Harry [Redknapp] alluded to it in his comments about agents. Things have been going on behind the scenes which have turned his head and it's unfortunate for us. The situation is not good for anybody. If they [QPR] don't come up with a bid that's acceptable, he won't go. The club are entitled to get what they think is a good price. That's the situation."
Odemwingie is likely to earn a sizeable fine for his Twitter comments if he remains in the West Midlands, but Clarke's first concern is whether he has to swoop in quickly for a replacement.
"If he's still here on February 1, there are bridges that need to be mended," Clarke said. "Peter's new-born son has been back in hospital so we gave him another day and we wish him, his wife and their baby well. I hope he's here on February 1 and we can look forward to having him here for the rest of the season. It's great being a head coach because anything else [like club sanctions] is not really my remit. It will be dealt with internally and in private. Social media is alien to me. I don't understand it. But it's so much a part of society that you can't ban them from using it. You have to encourage them to use it wisely.
"It was disappointing to have that reaction from Peter. His reaction is wrong and I'm sure he would accept that. But there have been other cases where high-profile players have fallen out with their clubs. There is always a way back. There's no indication whether the other players are with him or against him. We haven't sat down to discuss it. It does disrupt things but it's a challenge for me. I'll find a way to deal with it and hopefully find a solution."
Odemwingie will not play in Wednesday's Premier League game at Everton because he has been given three days off following the recent birth of his son.
"He has not trained for three days, so there is no way he can play," Clarke said. "My relationship with Peter has been good and very strong. We have to see what the resolution is. Thankfully, I don't live in the murky world of agents. I live in the real world. But where there's money, there's normally some greed."
Asked how QPR had handled their pursuit, Clarke said: "It seems OK to me but I haven't been involved in the discussions."
Meanwhile, Clarke has described Albion's injury situation as much-improved, with Shane Long, Marc-Antoine Fortune, Steven Reid and Claudio Yacob all having recovered from problems. Zoltan Gera is the club's only injured absentee, although Youssouf Mulumbu is not due to return from the African Nations Cup until the weekend.