Nigerian centre-forward Adeleke Akinola Akinyemi has said he is alive and well after his Latvian club reported him missing amid a contract dispute, according to an interview published Friday.
“I am all right. I am not kidnapped. I am outside of Ventspils of my own volition,” Akinyemi told Sportacentrs.com.
His team, FK Ventspils, had contacted the police after the 19-year-old failed to appear at training on Monday.
Akinyemi is the top scorer n this season’s Latvian championship with 13 goals in 16 games.
He accused the club of wanting to break his four-year contract to up the buyout clause from 300,000 euros ($345,000) to 1.5 million euros.
“They want me to break the contract to sign a new one, which is illegal,” Akinyemi said.
Akinyemi signed the deal with the previous owners, before Moldova-based entrepreneur Adlan Shishkhanov took over the side based in the port of Ventspils in the west of Latvia, in February, according to local media.
The club on Thursday denied any wrongdoing and called for Akinyemi to return and fulfil his current contract.
“He would only have to apologise in front of the team. No other sanctions,” the club’s executive director Sergejs Usachovs told reporters.
The team said Wednesday that they “strongly suspect” the involvement of organised crime.
They claimed a group of people had been contacting them for over a week and trying to “blackmail” the club.
But police said Akinyemi had told them that his disappearance was not due to criminal activity, according to local media.
His last appearance for the club was in Bordeaux on August 2 when he scored in Ventspils 2-1 Europa League qualifier loss.