Belfast Telegraph

Anelka on 'indefinite leave'

West Brom have granted Nicolas Anelka indefinite compassionate leave following the death of his agent Eric Manasse, Press Association Sport understands.

Anelka, who made his Baggies debut in Saturday's defeat by Southampton, spoke to the club's sporting and technical director Richard Garlic this morning after being informed of the news.

It was decided the 34-year-old former France striker should be given time off to grieve, although reports he has retired are believed to be premature at this stage.

West Brom had announced on their official website that Anelka has been given permission to miss Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Everton on "compassionate grounds".

While Anelka's brother Claude is more widely known as his agent, the Frenchman's affairs are also handled by Manasse with whom it is believed he had a close relationship.

It is understood that West Brom have opted against setting a timeframe for Anelka's return to duty given the nature of his absence, but his future is clearly now in some doubt with both club and player in limbo.

"West Bromwich Albion can confirm that Nicolas Anelka will not be involved in Saturday's game at Everton," read a statement.

"The club have excused the striker from club duty on compassionate grounds."

Anelka joined West Brom on a free transfer in July having completed a loan spell at Juventus when his lucrative move to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua turned sour.

The well-travelled former Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea striker agreed a one-year deal with the Baggies with an option for a further season.

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