Nicolas Anelka’s arrival at West Bromwich Albion seems like a risk-free acquisition, but the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker may find himself stuck on the bench this season and can be taken at 13/10 to score 6.5 goals or less for his new employers.
The end of Romelu Lukaku’s prolific loan period at the Hawthorns and Marc-Antoine Fortune’s departure for Wigan Athletic left Steve Clarke with want-away forward Peter Odemwingie and Irishman Shane Long as his only realistic goalscoring options this season, so the move for an experienced striker is justified.
Anelka’s recent record, however, suggests that he will struggle to make up for the loss of 17-goal Lukaku after only being able to manage three goals in a year in the Chinese Super League with Shanghai Shenua.
A loan spell at Juventus in the second half of last season yielded zero goals from three appearancesand Anelka may have to settle for as little game time again if Odemwingie cannot secure a transfer in the next 10 days.
The Nigerian international infuriated Baggies fans in January when trying to force a move to QPR, but he has a decent goal record at West Brom, having scored 25 league goals in his first two years at the club and even weighed in with five Premier League strikes last season before his exile from the first team in February.
Long should also start ahead of the 34-year old, as the former Reading and Cork City man kicked-off last season with five goals in Albion’s first 13 games and will be buoyed by his Wembley header in Ireland’s friendly draw with England in May.
Even if Odemwingie stays, former Chelsea coach Clarke will have to find another striker to fill the enormous gap left by Lukaku’s return to Chelsea, with Tottenham stalwart Jermain Defoe mooted as a target over the weekend.