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Anelka, Nicolas

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by Alex Woo

Date of Birth - 14/03/79

Nationality - French

Position - Striker

Games - 22

Goals - 5

Club Hons (Lpool) - None

International Hons - 55 France Caps, 12 Goals

Other Clubs - PSG (twice), Arsenal, Real Madrid, Man City, Fenerbache, Bolton, Chelsea



When Robbie Fowler left the club to join Leeds in November 2001, Gérard Houllier brought in fellow countryman Nicolas Anelka from PSG on a loan deal until the end of the 01/02 season, to boost the Reds striking options. Nico brought a big goalscoring pedigree with him to Anfield, and an ego to match.


Even though his big money move to Real Madrid in 1999 hadn't turned out the way he planned, Nicolas still had all the attributes to be a world class striker. He possessed great pace, and had the envious ability to score with both feet. He seemed a more than adequate replacement to fill the gap left by God.


Anelka impressed during his short spell at Anfield, scoring 5 goals in 22 appearances (only 15 of which were starts). Whilst his goal return was not anything special for a player of his calibre, he was behind Owen and Heskey in the pecking order, and as he settled into the side he started to show his clear ability.


Many reds were hopeful that GH would tie up a permanent deal for Anelka at the end of the 2002 season. However, Houllier had other ideas, and decided to sign Senegalese forward El Hadji Diouf instead. As far as bad transfer decisions go, this is right up there, as Diouf proved to be a total flop, and an embarrassment to the club.


Gérard cited Anelka's temperament and poor attitude as the main reasons why he choose not to sign him. Although whilst he was here, Nicolas appeared to act like a model professional, and has always stated how much he wanted to sign for Liverpool, and how much he loved his time here.


Even as recently as this season, ahead of our Champions League quarter-final clash with Chelsea, Anelka said that he still wishes he had signed for Liverpool as he was most happy as a player when he was here, and we got the best out of him. Whilst highly amusing from an LFC point of view, this sort of behaviour is probably what Houllier meant.


Liverpool's loss was Man City's gain, and the French forward enjoyed 3 years at Maine Road, averaging around a goal every two games, proving to be well worth the £13m Kevin Keegan paid for him.


He then moved on to Fenerbache in January of 2005, helping the Istanbul based club win the League and Cup double, and still keeping up his impressive goal scoring ratio. He stayed in Turkey for 18 months before moving back to England, this time with Sam Allardyce's Bolton for a fee of £8m.


After impressing with Bolton, he then joined Chelsea in January 2008, for around £15m. Although largely playing second fiddle to Didier Drogba, Anelka showed his class by finishing as the Premierships top scorer of the 08/09 campaign with 19 goals.


When people look back, they will be probably remember Anelka as a journeyman who never seemed to settle, but someone who scored goals wherever he went. But there are still many Liverpool fans who would like to see him back at Anfield.


More info on Nicolas Anelka:


++ / LFChistory.net -- Past Present Future

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