LONDON: Nicolas Anelka cannot keep away from English football. The moody French striker who was one of Arsene Wenger’s early captures for Arsenal is back again, this time with West Bromwich Albion.
Anelka has agreed a one-year deal with his sixth Premier League club after cutting short a lucrative but unsatisfactory spell in China with Shanghai Shenhua. He spent the second half of last season with Italian champions Juventus.
The 34-year-old has scored 124 league goals in England and won the Golden Boot in 2008-09 while at Chelsea. West Brom look on him as an experienced short-term replacement for Belgian Romelu Lukaku who has returned to Stamford Bridge after the end of his loan.
Manager Steve Clarke said: “We are missing a bit of firepower from last season so to kick off with the signing of Nicolas at the start of the summer is a great boost for everyone at the club. The more quality players the better – and no-one can question Nicolas’s quality.”
Whether Anelka can bring a similar level of commitment is an open question although his gypsy-like career has earned two Premier titles and three FA Cups with Arsenal and Chelsea as well as a Turkish title with Fenerbahce and one Champions League with Real Madrid.
The Frenchman began his career at Paris Saint-Germain before moving to Arsenal in 1997 (£500,000), helping Arsene Wenger’s side win a league and FA Cup double in 1997-98. He joined Real Madrid in 1999 for £23.5m but returned to PSG in 2000 before being loaned to Liverpool in 2001.
A £13m transfer to Manchester City followed in 2002 but three years later he was on the move once again, to Turkish club Fenerbahce (£7m).
In 2006 he returned to England with Bolton for a club record £8m before Chelsea paid £15m for him in January 2008. There he formed an effective partnership with Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba and helped the Blues win the Premier League in 2009-10 and two FA Cups.
For English clubs he has scored 124 goals in 352 league appearances and 161 goals in 462 appearances in all competitions. Since Premier clubs paid a transfer total of £36m that works out at £226,708 for each goal scored.