Anelka’s link play, alongside goals, makes him good West Brom fit
Romelu Lukaku’s 17 goals in 35 Premier League appearances was a major reason for West Brom finishing as high as eighth last season and if the club are to get close to repeating this achievement, they will need to find another striker to fill the Belgian’s boots.
Nicolas Anelka is one name that has been linked and based on his Premier League pedigree, the Frenchman would look a good fit.
In the last eight seasons in which Anelka has made it past 20 Premier League appearances, he has scored at least 10 goals on seven occasions.
The obvious problem for Anelka these days is that he has lost some of that blistering acceleration that made him such a force in his younger days.
However, he retains the same level of finishing ability and it should be remembered that in his latter days at Chelsea, Anelka was not always utilised on the shoulder attempting to run in behind.
The likes of Thierry Henry have previously developed their game when slowing down slightly and Anelka has the intelligence to play a role similar to that of a false nine, providing final passes and making runs to aid others.
Meanwhile, West Brom do still have Shane Long to occupy the role of willing lone striker to stretch the defence in behind.
The fact that Anelka is available on a free after his short-term contract with Juventus expired is another positive for Steve Clarke, with any money available better spent on increasing somewhat limited options in the deeper midfield positions.
Clarke may also fancy his chances of luring Anelka to the Hawthorns given that he has previously worked with the 34-year-old at Chelsea.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.