LONDON: West Bromwich have denied reports that veteran French striker Nicolas Anelka had walked out on the club he joined only this summer.

Instead the club clarified his departure from training on the grounds of compassionate leave after the death of his agent Eric Manasse. He will thus miss the weekend’s Premier League game against Everton.

Anelka, nicknamed the ‘Incredible Sulk’ for his demeanour on and off the pitch, began with Paris Saint-Germain and was brought to the Premier League as a goalscoring teenager by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

He moved regularly to Real Madrid, ┬áManchester City, Fenerbah├že, Bolton and Chelsea where he spent four seasons before daring to try his luck in China for a year with Shanghai Shenhua. Last winter he returned to Europe with Italian champions Juventus on loan before joining West Bromwich in July.

He made his Baggies debut in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat by Southampton.

On his Facebook page Anelka wrote: “I cannot find the words to express my sadness. I am shocked by this news that has affected his friends and family. Eric will leave a huge hole in our lives.”