West Brom have confirmed that veteran striker Nicolas Anelka has been excused from this weekend’s game against Everton for compassionate reasons.
A statement on the club’s website reads: “West Bromwich Albion can confirm that Nicolas Anelka will not be involved in Saturday’s game at Everton.
“The club have excused the striker from club duty on compassionate grounds.”
Earlier reports suggested that the Frenchman had stormed off the training ground and announced that he was retiring from football.
But the club statement does not tally with that. And the usually very reliable Chris Lepkowski, Baggies reporter for the Birmingham Mail, has tweeted:
#wba insist Anelka has NOT retired. I understand his agent has died – which has hit him badly. What the future holds, we'll see
— Chris Lepkowski (@chrislepkowski) August 22, 2013
Last time we heard, Anelka was represented by an elder brother but Lepkowski says the former Arsenal and Livepool man has more than one agent and it’s not yet clear whether Anelka has lost a sibling.