He’s had more clubs than Tiger Woods (although definitely not as many birdies) and after boasting Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea, Juventus among the more notable sides he’s turned out for, Nicolas Anelka can now count West Bromwich Albion among his employers after signing a one-year deal at the Hawthorns.
West Brom announced the deal this morning after a few days of speculation to make the Baggies the 11th professional side that Anelka has tuned out for (if indeed we are counting Shanghai Shenhua as a professional outfit) and it provides yet another signpost in the nomadic career of the 34-year-old.
The Black Country outfit are certainly delighted with the deal. In need of forwards after losing the services of Romelu Lukaku, who will return to parent club Chelsea for the coming season, manager Steve Clarke heralded the deal as a major coup for the Baggies.
“We are missing a bit of firepower from last year, and to kick off with the signing of Nicolas at the start of the summer is a great boost for everyone at the club,” Clarke said.
“The more quality players you can bring to the club the better, and no-one can question Nicolas’ quality.”
But has he still got what it takes to play in the Premier League?
There is no doubting the Frenchman’s pedigree – 122 Premier League goals in 352 games is a strike rate that many forward would love to have, not to mention the Premier League titles he won with both Arsenal and Chelsea.
Yet Anelka wasn’t a great success at Juventus – he played just three times and didn’t score in a five-month loan spell he started in January of this year – and bwin have set his goal-line at just 6.5 goals.
He is 3/4 to score more than 6.5 goals, yet he is even money to score fewer than seven Premier League goals and that has to be the bet.
As well as his failure at Juventus, Anelka scored just three times in 24 games during his Chinese experiment and notched a mere seven league goals in his last two years at Chelsea.
He doesn’t look like he has many full 90 minutes in him anymore, and in fact, he may well end up being deployed in a late super-sub-style role which will limit his playing time further.
In truth, Anelka’s best days look to be over and the even money he fails to hit as many as seven league goals looks like a very decent price indeed.