Peter Odemwingie has hit back at West Bromwich Albion after his proposed move to Queens Park Rangers fell through on the final day of the transfer window.
The striker accused the club of reneging on a gentleman’s agreement to let him sign for the west London club, saying he believed West Brom’s technical director, Dan Ashworth, had sanctioned the move. He also claimed Albion had signed him from Lokomotiv Moscow without permission.
It is understood that Odemwingie met with Ashworth and Richard Garlick, Albion’s legal director, at the club’s training ground this morning and has since been sent home and given a few days off. He will not feature in this weekend’s game against Tottenham.
Odemwingie turned up at Loftus Road on Thursday night expecting to sign, but was barred from the stadium. He had submitted a transfer request at The Hawthorns but when it was rejected he tweeted his frustration. However, a deal with QPR looked set to happen on Thursday, with Albion taking Junior Hoilett on loan in part-exchange, only for the QPR forward to refuse to move.
Although West Brom said they had no agreement over the transfer and Odemwingie did not have permission to speak to Rangers, the 31-year-old Nigerian then appeared at Loftus Road, where he was denied access. Despite attempts to revive the deal 15 minutes before the deadline, it fell apart.
Odemwingie told Sky Sports News: “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 went 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.”
West Brom said Odemwingie had behaved “wholly unprofessionally” and the club’s chairman, Jeremy Peace, added: “Peter must now accept the fact he remains under contract for a further 18 months and has to focus on his Albion commitments.”
Odemwingie retorted: “We will find a way forward which is suitable for everyone. The truth is we all went wrong somewhere. A few days ago [Peace] told me himself we could have handled it differently. I agreed. I said we have burned some bridges. It was never out of money, it was my professional desire. I was ready to give up my bonus of £300K already earned and I offered it back to the club.
“I don’t know really what happened. Whatever path we have to take, we need to sit down and iron this issue out. I came to this club in a wholly unprofessional way. I wasn’t given any permission by Lokomotiv Moscow. I’m saying these things don’t matter so much when adults are dealing with each other.”
West Brom will hope Odemwingie can put all thoughts of the past week out of his mind and concentrate on club matters, starting on Sunday when ninth-placed Albion host fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. The club are due to hold a press conference on Friday afternoon at which Odemwingie’s future will be addressed.
Odemwingie is unsure what his immediate future at West Brom holds for him, but believes he is still likely to leave in the summer. He added: “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. There’s nothing maybe illegal from any side, but maybe things went wrong, maybe a bit unprofessional, but with that we almost still got there.”
QPR manager Harry Redknapp said he felt sorry for the situation Odemwingie found himself in. “I wasn’t at all disappointed yesterday as I felt we made some fantastic signings,” Redknapp said. “I was just disappointed the way the Peter Odemwingie situation went. I was disappointed for the boy.
“The whole thing was a bit of a mess. I felt genuinely sorry for him. I think there was a mistake. He travelled down and I think he thought the deal was done and that is why he turned up. I think he thought ‘I better get down, have the medical, sign the forms’ – it was just a mistake. It is now difficult as he has to go back to West Brom and get on with his life.
“It wasn’t easy. He is not a bad lad, he is a nice, nice boy and that is what disturbed me last night, that he got himself into that situation and there was nothing sort of malicious in it.”
Source: Guardian UK