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Sep 3, 2012

Odemwingie: I nearly left West Brom

Peter Odemwingie has admitted he asked to leave West Bromwich Albion during the summer.

Odemwingie, 31, has revealed he made his mind up to quit the Premier League and asked new manager Steve Clarke if he could depart the Hawthorns.

Qatari club Al-Gharafa were prepared to offer him a lucrative deal to move to the Middle East but had a bid rejected for the Nigeria striker.

And Odemwingie admits it was the persuasive powers of Clarke that ensured he remained with the club - after some difficulties with former boss Roy Hodgson.

"I thought there would be nothing new for me at West Brom and I gave it a try (asked about leaving) to see what would happen," Odemwingie said. "Summer was a time when, at my age, I had second thoughts about continuing to play at this level.

"But the club said that it was too early for me to go and they thought I could play an important role for them and keep playing. Then pre-season started and I got hungry again for Premier League action and I forgot about it."

Roberto Di Matteo brought Odemwingie to The Hawthorns from Lokomotiv Moscow in 2010.

He scored 15 goals in his first top-flight campaign and that earned him a new contract under Hodgson last summer, but he only managed ten goals in the 2011-12 season and was criticised by the now England manager for failing to justify his improved deal.

There were reports during the summer that Odemwingie and Clarke had been involved in a training ground argument over the club's refusal to accept Al-Gharafa's bid, but the striker insists that is not true.

"I don't know where that came from. People would have seen afterwards if there was a problem," he said. "We sat down and had a normal talk. He was the new coach and he said 'give me a few weeks and see how we work, because we're ambitious for this year'. I said I would give it a couple of weeks and after that I was enjoying training and it looked like it was going to be an interesting season, so I forgot about the offer."

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