WEST BROMWICH, England (AP) — Nicolas Anelka's latest stint in the Premier League could be over after only 83 minutes.
The former France striker, who started in West Bromwich Albion's opening day loss to Southampton last weekend, is pondering retirement following the death of his agent.
After two disappointing seasons at Shanghai Shenhua and Juventus, the 34-year-old striker was hoping to get another chance in England, where he spent some of the best years of his career. But he told West Brom manager Steve Clarke that he wanted to quit football following the sudden death of Eric Manasse.
After learning on Thursday that Manasse had passed away, the former Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton and Chelsea player left training and was granted an indefinite compassionate leave.
"Obviously Nicolas lost a close friend and an agent over the weekend, he died suddenly," Clarke said Friday. "I went in and had a very brief chat with him, and he wasn't in a good place. So the club have decided just to give him a bit of time to go away and think about it and get himself in a better place for the future."
Clarke said Anelka told different members of the club that he wanted to retire but added that he asked the player to think twice about his decision.
"I'm not going to deny that he used that word in the conversations we had with him," Clarke said. "But we've given him time to go away and think about it and I don't think we could do any more in the circumstances as they were."
Anelka, whose career has also been managed by his brother Claude, wrote on his Facebook page that he was feeling an "immense sorrow" following the death of Manasse.
If Anelka decides to retire for good, it will mark the end of the career of one of the most talented and controversial players France has produced since former Manchester United great Eric Cantona.