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Nicolas Anelka will stay insists West Brom head coach Pepe Mel

Pepe Mel today insisted Nicolas Anelka will stay in his Albion side as Stephane Sessegnon underwent surgery that will rule him out for a month.

Mel rubbished talk of an Anelka exit after the veteran striker insisted he plans to stay at The Hawthorns despite a looming FA hearing over his controversial quenelle celebration.

But Sessegnon will be missing for a further month following an operation today on a groin injury.

Reports in Italy linked Lazio with a move for Anelka and the 34-year-old claimed yesterday that the Rome giants were among several clubs who wanted to sign him.

But he claimed he has no plans to leave and Mel said: "I have spoken to him and the only thing he wants to do is help beat Aston Villa tomorrow.

"He showed against Everton that there are no problems with him. The most important thing for me is his performance on the pitch.

"Sessegnon is the only player not available – everyone else is available and Anelka played well against Everton. He has a 99 per cent chance of playing tomorrow."

Anelka, who has denied an FA charge that his controversial celebration at West Ham in December was anti-Semitic and faces a hearing next month, tweeted yesterday: "Thanks to Lazio and all the other clubs who wanted to sign me these last few days.

"See you this summer if I decide to continue.

"But the question is why should I leave my club and England? I'm happy here and I did nothing wrong...

"So now it's time to stay focus on my football with my club and I will try my best on the pitch like I always do!"

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