West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke insists striker Peter Odemwingie has not played his last game for the club after seeing his hopes of a move to Queens Park Rangers dashed.
Clarke admits it was “total lunacy” for Odemwingie to turn up at Loftus Road late on Thursday before any deal had been agreed between the clubs. He also claimed Odemwingie had been “badly advised and should be looking for new agents”. The move eventually fell through and Odemwingie is not being considered for tomorrow’s Barclays Premier League home encounter with Tottenham Hotspur because he is not in the right frame of mind.
But Clarke hopes bridges can eventually be rebuilt between himself, Odemwingie, players and supporters after meeting the 31-year-old yesterday morning at the club’s training ground.
“I was very disappointed with [Thursday’s] events,” said the Scot. “There was never a situation where Peter was not our player. I was surprised when he turned up at Loftus Road because he had not been given permission. It is obvious there has been some misunderstanding by Peter, but West Brom never gave permission to QPR to speak to Peter.
“There was a moment when I thought a deal might happen. But it was total lunacy to turn up at QPR because the deal was not agreed. He jumped the gun. If I was Peter Odemwingie, I would be looking for new agents.”
Clarke has not written off the Nigeria frontman’s chances of playing for Albion again, although he is not being considered for the Spurs game. He said: “Myself, Peter, board members Dan Ashworth and Richard Garlick had a meeting this morning and that is the start of the process.
“Peter is not in the right frame of mind to be involved this weekend and he has been given permission to go back home. He will then come back when we decide the time is right for him to start training.
“There always has to be a way back. It won’t happen overnight but he is part of my squad and hopefully we will get to a situation some time in the future where there is a resolution.
“Has he played his last game for the club? As I sit here now, I can’t say for sure he hasn’t played his last game for the club. But I don’t think he has played his last game for the club.
“Everyone makes mistakes in life and you have to try to recover as best as you can. Maybe he has to apologise first, then he has to get back into the squad and show the team he is willing to help them. I sensed remorse when I spoke to him. I have had a good relationship with Peter and this will test it a little but I’m hopeful we will continue to have that.”
Speaking earlier yesterday, the player admitted he was perhaps a “little unprofessional” in the way he acted on transfer deadline day but defended himself by claiming that he joined the Baggies in similar circumstances three years ago when he made the switch from Lokomotiv Moscow.
“I came to this club [West Brom] in a wholly unprofessional way,” said Odemwingie. “I wasn’t given any written permission by Lokomotiv Moscow but I arrived at this club. I did a medical, I don’t think everything went so professional when I arrived.”
Clarifying his comments, the player said: “I’m saying that these things don’t matter so much when adults are dealing with each other. I think there was a misunderstanding because I could have held my goodbyes to the [West Brom] players if I was told it is not going to happen.”
Odemwingie felt he had been given the go-ahead from West Brom to complete his move to QPR, but conceded he did not have written permission.
He said: “They [West Brom] didn’t give me written permission, but you know we are in England and when you’re gentlemen you understand each other so easily. In my opinion, everything was done right and at the last moment, I don’t know what really happened, but I think other people can answer this question as well. We were almost there, the club were angry that I went there and it was on TV. They weren’t angry that I went there, but when it came up on TV that’s when they said that this deal is off and why did I do that. So I understand the club to be honest, it was a bit unprofessional but we all know our positions and we were almost there.”
Odemwingie is unsure what his immediate future holds for him, but believes he is still likely to leave in the summer. He said: “I love the club, I love the fans, I did perform here, I did enjoy myself here. I will always love the club, no matter what’s happened, but I will still leave, it’s just a matter of time.
“I’m not saying it in a harsh way. I mean my contract is going to run out in a year and a half, I wasn’t offered an extension here. What I mean is, my career as a whole will end one day, so will my contract here at West Brom. We’re not enemies, it’s all about football at the end of the day, it’s nothing personal.”