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Odemwingie says he will still leave West Brom

Boss Clarke calls Nigerian’s decision to drive to QPR an act of ‘lunacy’

Image Credit: AP
Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph, right, slides in on West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie during their 2-2 draw last weekend.
Gulf News

Birmingham: Peter Odemwingie has admitted it is “a matter of time” before he leaves West Bromwich Albion and claimed the club and their sporting director, Dan Ashworth, share responsibility for his transfer deadline-day farce. After being left high and dry — outside Loftus Road on Thursday night when West Bromwich refused to countenance his sale to Queens Park Rangers, Odemwingie lit a fire under his relationship with his current club yesterday (Friday), accusing them of playing a part in the confusion. Albion manager Steve Clarke, meanwhile, said that despite the “lunacy” of Odemwingie’s actions in driving to QPR on Thursday night, the door was open for him to return to the squad. After an hour of face-to-face talks with Clarke yesterday morning the striker was sent home from training and will not be part of the squad to face Tottenham Hotspur at the Hawthorns tomorrow. Odemwingie’s car-park vigil at Loftus Road added a comic twist to the last throes of deadline day, but the fallout has proved embarrassing for the player, both clubs, and potentially Ashworth, who takes up a senior position with the Football Association in September.

The events on Thursday encapsulated the desperate nature of some trading in the January transfer window, with a player clearly desperate to get out of his club caught between an equally desperate buyer and a reluctant seller. Odemwingie is understood to believe that he has been hung out to dry by both clubs.

QPR insist that they did not talk to him after West Brom-wich refused permission. For their part the Midlands club claim he was never given leave to talk to QPR. The striker, however, is adamant that he was given the go-ahead to open talks by Ashworth, and West Bromwich were clearly open to a deal of some kind as they discussed the possibility of taking Junior Hoilett from QPR as a replacement. Clarke admitted yesterday afternoon that was the case.

Odemwingie got his retaliation in first yesterday morning, telling Sky Sports on the way to training that he was not the only one to blame. He admitted that he did not have written permission to talk to QPR, but claimed he had been given the impression he was free to speak to them by Ashworth.

The 31-year-old forward also said that he had tried to make the deal happen by offering to give up his bonus of pounds 300,000 to help fund a swap deal with a QPR player, thought to be Hoilett. Asked if he believed Ashworth had given him permission to leave, Odemwingie said: “Yes, he can deny it because he has to look good in this situation. We will find a way forward for everyone now, but the truth is that it went wrong and he told me a few days ago that we could have handled this differently.

“I was ready to give my bonus, I have pounds 300,000 from the points we have won so far, I offered that too. I love the club, I love the fans, I did perform here and I will always love the club. I will still leave, it is just a matter of time now.” Speaking after an hour of talks with Odemwingie and Ashworth, Clarke said that he was disappointed with the Albion forward, and that the first he knew of the drama was when he saw his player being interviewed on television. The club will consider disciplinary action against the player, but Clarke said that he was not ruling him out of his future plans. He was also critical of QPR.

“I am disappointed with the way the whole episode turned out. I think he’s been very, very badly advised. And I think, if I was Peter, I would be looking for new agents,” the Albion manager said.

“It was total lunacy because he didn’t have permission to be at QPR. That’s why QPR turned him away. We were as surprised as anybody when he turned up at Loftus Road. At some stage yesterday the deal was close to happening. I think that’s obvious. But like a number of transfers on deadline day it fell through.

“I can’t say for sure that he hasn’t played his last game for the club. But I don’t think he’s played his last game for the club. “When we decide that the time is right for Peter to come back to training, we will address that situation and he will be back in.”

Asked about QPR’s conduct, Clarke said: “I know that I wouldn’t work that way. I know that I would conduct myself differently. That’s all I can say.” Odemwingie is already facing a club fine for attacking West Brom on Twitter last week, and the club are believed to be investigating the possibility of an additional sanction for his actions on Thursday evening.