Steve Clarke has described Peter Odemwingie's decision to drive to Queens Park Rangers on transfer deadline day as "total lunacy" and said the West Bromwich Albion forward was never granted permission to speak to the London club.
After a bizarre chain of events that culminated in Odemwingie returning to Albion's training ground on Friday morning, 24 hours after he had packed his bags and set off for Loftus Road only for a proposed move to QPR to collapse, Clarke accused the Nigerian of "jumping the gun".
Albion's head coach confirmed that the Midlands club will be taking disciplinary action against Odemwingie in light of "a number of things that have happened this week", which was a reference to the player's outspoken comments on Twitter, as well as his extraordinary behaviour on Thursday night. The 31-year-old will almost certainly be fined the maximum two weeks' wages.
Clarke admitted there was a point on Thursday when Albion were close to reaching an agreement with QPR, only for the deal to collapse when Junior Hoilett made it clear that he was not interested in moving to The Hawthorns on loan. Albion would not countenance allowing Odemwingie to leave without finding a replacement. Despite the transfer being at an advanced stage, Clarke said Odemwingie had no right to head to QPR. "It is total lunacy because he didn't have permission to be at QPR," he said. "That's why QPR turned him away.
"I think it's obvious that there must have been some form of misunderstanding on the part of Peter and his agents, otherwise why would they turn up at Loftus Road without permission to be there? But there is no misunderstanding on the part of the clubs. At boardroom level there is absolute clarity."
Despite that last comment, Clarke suggested he was unimpressed with the way QPR had handled things at times. "I know that I wouldn't work that way. I know that I would conduct myself differently. That's all I can say," he said.
Clarke said Odemwingie had showed remorse for his actions when he held talks with the player on Friday morning. After also meeting with Dan Ashworth, Albion's technical director, and Richard Garlick, the club's legal director, Odemwingie was sent home and told he would not be involved in Sunday's game against Tottenham Hotspur. Although Clarke has refused to put a timescale on when Odemwingie will return to training, he left the door open to the possibility of the player featuring for the club again this season.
"I think Peter has been very, very badly advised. And I think if I was Peter, I would be looking for new agents," Clarke said. "I've never seen a situation like this. I've seen situations where players have tried to engineer a move out of a club, of course, but never to the extent with the media coverage this whole episode has attracted. Hopefully there is a way back for Peter. It's always disappointing if there is no way back from mistakes. I'm sure over the coming days and weeks Peter can do many things. Maybe he has to apologise. First of all he has to get picked and show his team-mates that he's willing to help them. And then, if he's selected in matches, he has to play well."
Earlier in the day Odemwingie suggested that he was under the impression from Dan Ashworth, Albion's technical director, that his move to QPR had been sanctioned. He also accused Albion of double standards in relation to their conduct when he joined the club. "We will find a way forward which is suitable for everyone," Odemwingie said.
"The truth is we all went wrong somewhere. A few days ago [Jeremy Peace, the Albion chairman] told me himself we could have handled it differently. I agreed. I said we have burned some bridges. It was never out of money, it was my professional desire. I was ready to give up my bonus of £300,000 already earned and I offered it back to the club.
"I don't know really what happened. Whatever path we have to take, we need to sit down and iron this issue out. I came to this club in a wholly unprofessional way. I wasn't given any permission by Lokomotiv Moscow. I'm saying these things don't matter so much when adults are dealing with each other."