West Ham forward Benni McCarthy has been fined nearly £200,000 by the club for repeatedly failing to meet his weight loss and fitness targets.
The tubby South African international had his £38,000-a-week wage docked on five separate occasions for missing his 2.2lb weekly weight loss requirement set out by the Hammers.
At the start of the season he weighed 15st and was told he must slim down to 13st 5lb. He eventually reached his target weight in October but has now been omitted from West Ham’s 25-man Premier League squad for the remainder of the season. Manager Avram Grant reckons McCarthy has lost a yard of pace as well as his belly.
He said: “He’s a very good player and one of the best finishers in training that I have ever seen, and I have had some good players.
“But now we need players with movement and the advantage of being quick, and we have others.”
McCarthy’s agent Rob Moore (fantastic agent name, by the way) told the Daily Mail: “He wants to play and is not a guy who wants to sit around and collect his cheque.
“Avram has a job to do and the team are in a difficult position, so you can’t blame him for making decisions he believes in, but Benni has had hardly any game time and it’s inevitable he would get a bit disheartened.
“He’s at the level of fitness and weight the club prescribed and they are happy with that. But he is 33 years old and we have to be realistic.”
McCarthy has been linked with a loan move to the MLS.