The nomadic striker will play for West Bromwich Albion next season, with the Baggies keen to find a new striker after Romelu Lukaku returned to parent club Chelsea. Can Anelka replicate the Belgian’s impact at the Hawthorns?
In many ways, it could not be further from a like-for-like replacement, but West Brom will hope that new signing Nicloas Anelka will have as positive an impact on their team as Romelu Lukaku did last season.
Lukaku was young, hungry to demonstrate his quality and a relatively unknown quantity in the Premier League, whilst Anelka has nothing left to prove, and considering he has played for five English sides, four of which who are still in the top flight, he holds little mystery for opposition sides.
However that has not stopped him being a prolific goal scorer throughout his career, and despite his age, if Anelka is a first team regular throughout next season at West Brom, he can be a vital part of the attack for Steve Clarke’s side.
Anelka has not found his best form since leaving the Premier League, scoring just three times in 24 appearances for Shanghai Shenhua, and only making three appearances at Juventus in the second half of last season, and the French striker might hope a return to familiar surroundings will provoke an upturn in his fortunes.
Despite being in and out of the Chelsea side, as well as sometimes moving to the flanks of the Blues’ attack, he scored 25, 15 and 16 goals in his three full seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Anelka is still only 34, and with his ability to play through the centre or add width to a team’s attack, as well as his Premier League experience, he should be an excellent addition to West Brom’s squad.
The Frenchman has never truly become a fan’s favourite at any side in England, but he has consistently shown that when he plays regularly, he will score Premier League goals. He might not be able to match Lukaku’s total of 17 from last season, but Anelka will add far more than the youngster in terms of experience, and he could be a key player at the Hawthorns next year.
image: © Andrea Sartorati