WEST Brom have stuck to their guns about wanting to keep Peter Odemwingie by rejecting a bid for the Nigeria international.
Albion have received an undisclosed offer from Qatari outfit Al-Gharrafa but have turned it down flat ahead of their pre-season tour to Scandinavia.
Their refusal to negotiate with the Doha-based side is completely consistent with comments made by manager Steve Clarke earlier this month.
Several weeks ago the Scot paid Odemwingie a glowing tribute when he said: “There’s no reason to doubt that he’s not a top, top player and I’m really looking forward to working with him. His goal record here is really good. He’s the man you look to for the goals.” And although speculation about the 31-year-old is likely to continue Albion seem keen to retain a player who has scored 25 times in 60 games.
Less than 12 months ago Odemwingie signed an improved three-year contract that should see him remain at The Hawthorns until 2014.
They were equally keen to scotch rumours of a training ground bust-up between Odemwingie and Clarke when they emerged yesterday morning.
Normally West Brom are reluctant to comment on such matters but when contacted they acted swiftly to dismiss the story as ‘utter nonsense’. Indeed they named the former Lokomotiv Moscow attacker in the 25-man squad that left for the two-match trip to Sweden and Denmark.
Fellow forward Simon Cox also made the flight and will feature in either Thursday’s game with Malmo FF or next Wednesday’s appointment with FC Copenhagen.
Cox is also the subject of speculation and has been linked not only with a move to Middlesbrough but more recently with a switch to Blackburn.
Rovers manager Steve Kean could be ready to make a bid for the Republic of Ireland player who made just seven league starts last season.
There will, however, be a first outing for new signing Yassine El Ghanassy, the Belgium winger who joined the Baggies last week on a season-long loan from AA Gent.
Central defender Jonas Olsson will also meet up with the squad and is expected to meet Clarke to discuss his future.
The Swede has only one-year left on his contract and delayed discussions about an extension until after Euro 2012.If the 29-year-old refuses to sign a new deal Albion could be forced to sell him this summer or risk losing him next for nothing.
Midfielder Zoltan Gera, who made only three appearances last season before missing the final six months with a knee injury, has made the trip as has permanent signing Ben Foster.