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Football | Nigeria

Odemwingie at crossroads



In July 2012, Nigerian striker, Peter Odemwingie was reported to have had a bust-up with West Bromwich Albion manager, Steve Clarke suggesting he was heading for the exit door at The Hawthorns. West Brom denied that report.

Since then Odemwingie has had altercation with his country's football federation and national team coach, Stephen Keshi, over being left out of the Africa Cup of Nations.

But his latest attempt to force a move to QPR from West Brom has landed him in the black books of the Baggies fans, who once loved him. Certainly Odemwingie's failed move to QPR remains the highpoint of the mid-season transfer window's deadline day after he travelled down to London to complete the switch without permission, according to West Brom.

"It's fine. West Brom was my home but this is a new chapter. I love West Brom and always will. I am optimistic. A few good players have arrived here and I am happy with the trust Harry Redknapp has in me.

"The last few results have given us a chance to stay up. I don’t think the owners will bring in so many players if they don't think it will happen. I hope West Brom are happy with what they will get and they hope to get players," Odemwingie, who already viewed himself as a QPR player, told Sky Sports News outside of Loftus Road on Thursday night.

West Brom's statement

Just as Odemwingie was hoping to ink a deal, Albion released a quickfire statement that killed off any chance of the striker joining the R's.

"The club can confirm they have held further discussions with QPR but those talks have so far proved fruitless and no agreement has been reached.

"Albion would also like to make clear that Peter has not been given permission to speak to QPR about a potential move," the statement from West Brom read on Thursday.

Immediately the gate of Loftus Road was slammed in the face of Odemwingie as he was turned back by QPR.

Odemwingie's story

Odemwingie has, however, fought back. He has claimed that West Brom signed him from Russian club, Lokomotiv Moscow without permission among others.

He also said he met with West Brom technical director, Dan Ashworth, before leaving the Midlands for London believing his move had been sanctioned on Thursday.

"I learned now that the role of technical director is not superior to a chairman. When you are in England, you are gentlemen and you have to understand each other.

"After talks there was no need for training. I said I can go now, I got the go ahead from what I understand. I went round to thank everyone in the club, the laundry, left some autographs. I promised to come back next week. I will miss them. I want to see everyone to say thanks very much.

"In my opinion everything was done right. In the last moment I don't know what happened. I think he (Ashworth) can deny it, he has to look good in this situation.

"Anyway, we will find a way forward which is suitable for everyone. The truth is we all went wrong somewhere. A few days ago he told me himself we could have handled it differently. I agreed.

"I came to West Brom in an unprofessional manner. Lokomotiv Moscow did not give me permission to speak to West Brom.

"I still love the club. The club knows the reasons I want to leave. I think I'll still leave. I'm not saying that in disrespect. We are not enemies. It's all about football and not personal. There's nothing illegal," he told Sky Sports News on Friday.

What Redknapp & others think

However, the man who made two failed bids to sign Odemwingie from West Brom, Redknapp was sympathetic.

"I feel sorry for the lad and the way things have turned out. I think he was advised that he should turn up, that the club had made an offer and it was accepted. I think the wires must have got crossed somewhere," said the QPR manager, who signed on Christopher Samba, Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend on deadline day.

Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand also made comments via his verified Twitter account. He posted: "Anyone know who is looking after Peter Odemwingie??? I hope the West Brom dressing room is a sensitive + forgiving place..."

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, found the scenario "quite strange" and feels Odemwingie may have been misinformed.

"That was quite strange. Sometimes the players are told wrong information. He looked a bit lost there," he said.

But former Chelsea man, Tony Cascarino did not spare Odemwingie. He described the striker's attempt to force a move away from West Brom as "a level of stupidity" unimaginable.

“I can’t believe it, what on earth was he doing? I’m astonished someone would do something so daft. In moments of transfer speculation, you speak to friends, family, your agent. I can't believe not one of them told him not to do that, especially his agent.

“You do not go down to another club and knock on their door. It’s absolutely mind-blowing that someone would attempt to do such a daft thing.

“He hasn’t thought about it. That is a level of stupidity you just can’t imagine. The (West Brom) fans are going to be furious and now he’s got to go back into a dressing room where players are going to have a lot less respect for him.

“When you sign a contract, you go on the club’s terms. And trying push it through (this transfer) is the highest level of stupidity I’ve ever heard of,” said Cascarino.

Odemwingie's future at West Brom

In the last three Premier League seasons, the 31-year-old forward has been among West Brom's top performers with 30 goals completing 114 key passes. But all that look threatened now after he was sent home from training on Friday after spending just 40 minutes talking to Ashworth.

And like the start of this season, Odemwingie's future at The Hawthorns looks in doubt again, and certainly it is not the end of this new chapter in his career.

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