West Bromwich Albion are prepared to hold on to Peter Odemwingie for the remainder of his contract, unless they receive a substantial transfer fee for his services.
After falling out of favour with head coach Steve Clarke last season, following his failure to push through a transfer to Queens Park Rangers, the Nigeria international looked set for a summer exit from The Hawthorns, with the likes of Crystal Palace, Swansea and Hull all linked with the forward.
However, despite that interest not being reflected in firm bids for the player, Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace says he will not be forced into selling Odemwingie on the cheap.
“We have a player who is under contract until the end of the [next] season,” he told the Birmingham Mail. “Unless something comes in to change our way of thinking, he will be back in pre-season and we will deal with that.
“We took a view at the end of January - not only for the reasons of Peter Odemwingie or Queens Park Rangers, also whichever agents were involved who acted disgracefully, but for the long-term of this club that we have to behave a certain way.
“If we don’t do that, they will all be knocking on the door. So, unless we get an offer we’re happy with for Peter, we won’t sell him.”
Albion have been linked with Wigan pair Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone, among others, as they seek to replace the fire power lost with the return of Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea.
Elsewhere, Marc-Antoine Fortune is free to seek a move to another club and Markus Rosenberg has struggled to make an impact since arriving last summer, meaning last season’s surprise eighth-place finishers are in need of reinforcements.
However, if the club decide to keep Odemwingie, they must balance the threat he brings to opposition defences with his risk to dressing-room harmony, and bear in mind that he has become deeply unpopular with supporters.
He has been booed by fans at The Hawthorns since his aborted move to QPR last January – a development that came amid a series of controversial Twitter rants from a player who turns 32 next month.
The lingering bitterness is more likely to trigger any sale rather than Albion’s need for funds. They are under no financial pressure to sell, despite the former Lokomotiv Moscow player’s reported £2 million salary.