Still got it! Nicolas Anelka at the double for West Brom

Nicolas Anelka

Former Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Bolton striker... quite a list... Nicolas Anelka is showing positive early signs at West Brom.

Nicolas Anelka is no stranger to English football, quite the familiar face in fact.

Yet there was plenty of surprise when he signed a deal with West Brom earlier this summer, despite the Chelsea connection with Steve Clarke.

He had spent almost a year in semi-retirement in China's Super League with Shanghai Shenhua, even taking on a management role before a quite predicable falling out and cancelling of the contract.

Anelka signed with Juventus on a short-term deal, but played just 58 minutes of first team football for the Italian champions, strewn across three substitute appearances.

Upon signing 34-year-old Anelka for the Baggies, Steve Clarke was positive the Frenchman can be an asset rather than a distraction for his side.

"We are missing a bit of firepower from last year – we’re trying to put that right – and to kick off with the signing of Nicolas at the start of the summer is a great boost for everyone at the club.

"The sole focus at the club is trying to build on what we did last season. The more quality players you can bring to the club the better – and no-one can question Nicolas’ quality."

West Brom certainly have a job on their hands to fill the void left by returning loanee Romelu Lukaku, and Anelka has at least given an early indication that he is not just after one last payday.

He scored a brace in yesterday's 3-0 win over Hungarian side Puskas FC Academy; despite the name hardly a true barometer of his ability to lead the line again in the Premier League, but an indication he still has his scoring touch.

If West Brom can keep Anelka motivated, and Clarke's previous experience with him gives him a better chance than most, then they may just have an asset on their hands.

While it would be wrong to ever expect the former French international to return to the level he once played at, if he can contribute 15 goals over the course of the season then his addition may just be an invaluable one.

How many goals do you think Anelka can deliver for West Brom next season?

image: © Andrea Sartorati

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