Atletico Mineiro pull out of deal to sign Nicolas Anelka

West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka vies with West Ham United's Senegalese midfielder Mohamed Diame during the English Premier League football match on December 28, 2013
© Getty Images
Atletico Mineiro pull out of a deal to sign Nicolas Anelka after the striker cancels a meeting with club officials.

Atletico Mineiro have pulled out of a proposed deal to sign former West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka.

The Brazilian side confirmed that they were close to signing 35-year-old on Tuesday, but his decision to delay a meeting with the club's officials has seen the move collapse.

Mineiro's director of football Eduardo Maluf revealed in a statement: "We said that yesterday was the deadline for an agreement or explanation, as we would like to have him on board for our Libertadores bid. Today, however, we received an email from Mr Casini, saying that Anelka, a Muslim, was in Kuwait for an event and would only come on the April 19.

"He had the obligation of informing us about this, but we only heard about it know. I talked to our president and we agreed that Atletico's greatness is much bigger than a single player and, therefore we are cancelling our commitment."

Anelka was sacked by the Baggies in March shortly after being handed a five-match ban for using the controversial 'quenelle' gesture during a goal celebration.

Nicolas Anelka of West Bromwich Albion in action during the pre season friendly match between Puskas FC Academy and West Bromwich Albion at the Varosi Stadium on July 22, 2013
Read Next:
Mineiro confident of Anelka arrival