West Bromwich Albion F.C. have terminated the contract of Nicolas Anelka after the player falsely tweeted he had agreed to leave the club.
On Friday, Anelka — who was handed a five-match ban by the FA for his ‘quenelle’ goal celebration earlier this month — tweeted (in French): “Following talks between the club and me, propositions were made to me in order to reintegrate me into the squad under certain conditions that I cannot accept.
“Wishing to retain my integrity, I have therefore taken the decision to free myself and put an end to the contract linking me with West Bromwich Albion to 2014, with immediate effect.”
The former France international, who joined the Baggies after being released by Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua last summer, has proven to be a nuisance, both on and off the pitch.
In response to the 35-year-old’s tweets, Albion issued an official statement of the club’s official website, wba.co.uk, which read: “The Club confirms it has been continuing discussions with Nicolas Anelka and his advisers as part of its own internal enquiry into the gesture he made after scoring against West Ham United on December 28.
“Following the conclusion of the FA’s enquiry into the same incident, the Club had hoped to conclude its own investigations next week.
“The Club notes Nicolas Anelka’s comments on Twitter this evening (Friday). However, the club has received nothing formally regarding the termination of Nicolas Anelka’s contract from either him or his advisers.
“The Club regards the release of such a statement on Social Media as highly unprofessional and will make a further statement when appropriate.”
However, the story does not end there. Just hours after releasing the aforementioned statement, West Brom gave Anelka his 14 days notice, as per a clause in his contract.
Anelka’s release leaves manager Pepe Mel with four first-team strike options (Matěj Vydra, Saido Berahino, Thievy Bifouma, and Victor Anichebe) during a congested relegation battle at the bottom of the league table.
Albion (4-13-11) — priced at 21/10 to be relegated from England’s top-flight this season — will travel to Wales to take on fellow strugglers Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
The Baggies are heavy underdogs to win, and perhaps rightfully so, with the bookmakers back the Swans to win to nil at 11/5.
Match Prediction: Swansea 2 – West Brom 0 (17/2)