Clarke in dark over Anelka future
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke would like to think Nicolas Anelka will play for the club again - but admits he does not know what to expect.
Anelka has been granted indefinite compassionate leave by the Baggies following the death of his agent Eric Manasse last weekend.
Clarke confirmed the 34-year-old former France striker spoke to him and West Brom's sporting and technical director Richard Garlick about retiring from football altogether on Thursday before departing the club's training ground.
Asked on Friday morning if he fully expected to see Anelka playing for the Midlands outfit again, Clarke said: "Fully expect? I don't know, because from the conversation we had the other day, it was really negative. But we have given him time to think about it. So I'd like to think he could play for West Bromwich Albion again."
Clarke was adamant there had been no hostility in the exchanges between Anelka and the club. ''Obviously Nicolas lost a close friend and an agent over the weekend - he died suddenly," the Scot said.
"Nicolas went to Richard on Thursday and indicated that he wasn't in a good place. I went in and had a very brief chat with him, and he wasn't in a good place.
"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. Really, that is as much as there is to tell on the situation - it wasn't dramatic, there was no big bust-up, he didn't storm out of the training ground. It is just a boy who is really quite upset.''
Asked directly if Anelka had mentioned quitting, Clarke added: ''I'm not going to deny that he used that word in the conversations we had with him. But we've given him time to go away and think about it and I don't think we could do any more in the circumstances as they were.''
Clarke is keen to hold further discussions with Anelka in due course, saying: ''Once he gets his head clear and we can sit down and have a proper chat, yeah, sure. But at the moment (granting Anelka compassionate leave) is the best course of action for both Nicolas and the club.''
West Brom's first match without Anelka, who was a free agent when they signed him this summer, is Saturday's top-flight trip to Everton.
Clarke stressed an injury had already made it unlikely that the frontman, who made his Albion debut against Southampton last weekend, would feature at Goodison Park.
He said: ''He was actually injured. He hadn't trained with us this week, so I was preparing the team for Everton without Nicolas in it anyway - he got a kick against Southampton.''
Someone who is set to be involved against the Toffees is Scott Sinclair, whose season-long loan switch from Manchester City to the Baggies was confirmed on Thursday.
On the 24-year-old, Clarke said: "He had a couple of great seasons at Swansea, got the big-money move to Manchester City and he feels he didn't get the chances there he deserved to play in their team, and I think he is probably right on that.
"He comes here hungry and determined to prove he is still the quality player he showed he was at Swansea. He is desperate to play this weekend. He is looking for a nice quiet house out in the country here - he said he doesn't want to stay in the town centre, which is music to my ears!
"He is looking forward to living somewhere nice and quiet, and just concentrating on his football. I think it is a big year for him."
The other new faces Clarke has added to his squad this summer are striker Matej Vydra, recruited on loan from Udinese, and defender Diego Lugano.
Asked about making further signings before the end of the transfer window, Clarke said: "I'm not going to name names, but it's clear we definitely need more signings. I would like another wide player if possible, maybe another midfield player, maybe another defender, maybe another striker - you never know.
"The last week of the window is coming up and we haven't been overly active - certainly in comparison to other clubs, we have been under-active. I'm hoping it will be a busy week for the club."