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Anelka tells West Brom boss he wants to quit

ESPN staff
August 23, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Nicolas Anelka has reportedly walked out on West Brom, having made only one competitive appearance © Getty Images
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West Brom boss Steve Clarke has confirmed that Nicolas Anelka told him he wanted to quit football following the death of his agent but added the club remained hopeful he would stay with them.

Stories started circulating on Thursday that Anelka had packed up his things and told West Brom he had played his last game after spending 48 hours considering his options following the death of Eric Manasse. Anelka spoke with the club's sporting and technical director Richard Garlick who tried unsuccessfully to talk him out of the decision.

The club issued a statement saying he had been given indefinite leave on compassionate grounds.

Speaking on Friday morning, Clarke denied some of the more lurid claims that Anelka had angrily walked out. "There was no big bust-up, he didn't storm out," Clarke said. "Retirement? When you're not in a good place those thoughts can come into your mind.

"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."

Anelka has only been at West Brom since July when he signed a one-year deal on a free transfer after being released by Shanghai Shenhua. He featured in the opening day 1-0 home loss to Southampton.

After completing his move to West Brom, his sixth Premier League club, Anelka said: "I think I'll finish in England, I'm happy here. I also hope it will be with this club. I hope we will be successful this year and hopefully we will reach Europe. We will try to do better than last season.

"That's why I'm here. When I spoke with the head coach [Steve Clarke], he said he wants to do better than last year. We will try our best to do that. We will also try to do the same in the cup competitions."

The striker has played for 11 clubs, costing them a combined near-£90 million in transfer fees, and has 69 caps for France.

After scoring 38 goals in 125 appearances for Chelsea, where he was frozen out in his final season under Andre Villas-Boas, Anelka left for China in 2012 but only played 22 games before sealing a loan switch to Juventus in January.

Anelka started his professional career at Paris Saint-Germain before moving to Arsenal in 1997 aged 17 where he played a key role in the club's Premier League and FA Cup double a year later. He was Arsenal's top scorer in the 1998-1999 season with 17 league goals, earning the PFA Young Player of the Year award, but left for Real Madrid in the summer.

However Anelka failed to force his way into the first team at Madrid, and moved back to PSG in 2000. A loan spell with Liverpool followed before a three-year stint at Manchester City between 2002 and 2005. Anelka then moved to Fenerbahce for a season before returning to the Premier League with Bolton in 2006. After impressing at Bolton, Anelka earned a move to Chelsea in January 2008 for £15 million.

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