Missing out on Liverpool move is Nicolas Anelka's biggest regret

Nicolas Anelka

Former Arsenal and Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka says missing out on a permanent move to Liverpool is his biggest career regret.

Nicolas Anelka is a man who appears to have it all and one who should be able to look back on his glittering career with no regrets when the day finally comes to hang up his boots.

He is a man who does things his way – always has been and probably always will be.

He has represented the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris St Germain and Real Madrid, allowing him to savour Premier League and Champions League success.

Anelka has also enjoyed international glory with France, having formed part of their successful Euro 2000-winning side.

It is therefore surprising to hear that the 35-year-old, who is currently turning out in the Indian Super League with Mumbai City, has one footballing itch he has never been able to scratch.

He told France Football: “I have only one regret in my career, to have not signed at Liverpool after my good six months on loan.

“Everyone wanted me to stay: the fans, the players, the staff and myself!

“Despite one of the my best periods of my life on the pitch, one man decided differently (Gerard Houiller). Since then he has admitted that he made a mistake and he should have signed me. C’est la vie. I think it is a shame because he is a French coach.

“Not staying at Liverpool was the turning point of my career. If I had signed there, I would have stayed on long-term. Liverpool is in my heart and their fans too. They showed me that each time I was back at Anfield.”

Anelka was loaned to Liverpool by Paris St Germain in December 2001 and would go on to see out that particular season with the Reds.

Having only been away from England for a little over two years, following a big-money switch from Arsenal to Madrid, he settled quickly into his new surroundings and delivered five goals in 22 appearances in all competitions – including one in the Merseyside derby.

It was expected that the move would be made permanent, with PSG looking for a buyer, but Anelka was to start the following campaign at another Premier League heavyweight in the North West – Manchester City.

He has been unable to ignore the draw of the Premier League throughout his career, with spells at Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion sandwiched between stints in Turkey with Fenerbahce, China with Shanghai Shenhua and Italy with Juventus.

An acrimonious departure from The Hawthorns suggests that English football has now seen the last of an often moody and enigmatic talent, but his contribution to the game – both good and bad – will live long in the memory.

It is unfortunate that he never got his wish of landing a contract at Anfield, but sometimes you have to acknowledge that you cannot have it all and make do with an enviable collection of winners’ medals and millions in the bank!

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