Jason Koumas has not spoken to Bryan Robson for more than a year and has three times failed to turn up for meetings with the manager of West Bromwich Albion. Koumas's wages have been suspended and the Professional Football Association is monitoring the situation.
Robson last night revealed the full extent of Koumas's dispute with the club, but the only thing that seems certain is that the player will not play for Albion again. He has not so much burnt his bridges, as exploded them.
The Wales international midfield player, was on loan with Cardiff City last season and wants to join the club permanently. Albion want to sell but are understood to want £2 million. Cardiff only want to pay £1 million.
Koumas fell out with Robson in the spring of 2005 and has only played six matches for Albion under their manager. Robson is understandably disappointed - "you will have to ask Jason what is in his mind" - but he does not want the issue to destabilise the spirit within the Albion squad.
"Everyone keeps asking me about him," Robson said. "There is no problem with Jason being a Cardiff player if Cardiff come up with the money which has always been said would be acceptable. Cardiff have come up with an offer nowhere near that.
"He will not speak to anyone from the club and will not speak to me. His wages are suspended at this moment because he hasn't turned up for preseason training at all and that will be the case until Koumas decides he is going to do something about that.
"His wages can be suspended indefinitely because he is in breach of contract. He must have a lot of money in the bank. I last spoke to him when he went on loan to Cardiff last season. We invited Jason back to have a conversation with myself and the chairman. We did three meetings and he turned up for none of them.
"I was quite willing to speak to Koumas and if he wants to be a West Brom player and be part of our promotion bid this season, he was welcome back into the squad because he is a very good player with a lot of ability. He sees it differently.
"We have said enough. I've got other things to worry about. I'm more concerned about getting my squad prepared for the three games we have in the next week."
Koumas either does not sense the gravity of the situation or does not care. He is desperate to join Cardiff and expects a successful conclusion before the transfer window closes on August 31. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm ready to go and I will be fit - the sooner the better will suit me," he said.
Meanwhile, Albion have rejected a £2.5m bid from Manchester United for goal-keeper Tomasz Kuszczak and have again stressed that they will not be selling the Polish international to the Red Devils unless they receive what they deem an acceptable offer.
Chairman Jeremy Peace said last night: "At this moment in time, selling Tomasz to United is not a viable option. It would severely weaken our squad at a time w hen we are trying to strengthen it.
"We have had numerous talks with United and have told them any deal would have to include their highly-rated striker, Giuseppe Rossi, joining us on loan for the season.
"Although this would weaken us temporarily until we signed another keeper to compete with Pascal Zuberbuhler, it would increase our attacking options.
"However, United have told us Rossi will not be going out on loan this season. It means if we sold Tomasz to United, without Rossi coming in return, it would potentially cause us more problems without solving any despite the receipt of cash."
Peace admitted: "This will come as a disappointment to Tomasz who has indicated to us he would like to join United but it is the board's job to do what is best for this club."