Former Aston Villa of England star, Gabriel Agbonlahor has denied reports making the rounds that he has retired from the round leather game, as he says he only left the lower division club because they forced him out.
In what appears like a daring move to get another club in the January transfer window, Agbonlahor said he could play with Villa for free and insists he is not ready to retire.
The Nigerian-born former England international and still Villa’s record English Premier League goalscorer said he was ready to help the club in their hour of need before a summer takeover.
However, ‘Gabby’ painfully left The Villans this past summer, 14 years after his debut, having made 391 appearances and scoring 86 goals – 75 times in the top flight.
He admitted Villa’s failure to return to the Premier League following a 1-0 Sky Bet Championship play-off final defeat to Fulham in May left them struggling financially under former owner Tony Xia.
Before Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens bought a 55 per cent stake in the club in July, Agbonlahor – who had already turned down approaches from the Championship and SPL – offered to play for nothing.
Agbonlahor said: “I was aware a couple of strikers had what seemed to be long-term injuries.
“Everyone knew the club had financial difficulties, so I asked my agent to speak with Steve Bruce and make the offer I would play for free.
“There were no strings attached, I didn’t want paying, no appearance money, nothing, it was a genuine offer to help the club I love.
“The manager had been good for me when he arrived. I had been in a bad place before he was appointed and he gave me the opportunity to get back involved.
“He was appreciative of my offer but no one was aware the club was in the final stages of being sold to sort the financial problems.”