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Nicolas Anelka

Number 39


14th March 1979


Versailles, France


6ft 1in


12st 2lbs




January 2008



Former Clubs

Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Man City, Fenerbahce, Bolton


France - 64 caps

Pen Pic

Anelka has, it's probably fair to say, been around the block a few times. He started his career as a youth player at PSG, before Arsene Wenger snapped him up for 500k in February 1997. 'Le Sulk', as he was dubbed by the press for his alleged moody attitude, spent just over two years in North London, helping the Gunners to the double in 1998, before being moved on for a massive 22m, to Real Madrid, in the summer of 1999.

Anelka's time at the Bernabeu was plagued with controversy. At one point he was suspended for 45 days by his club for refusing to train, news that did little to remove his 'Le Sulk' tag. His starts for Real were few and far between, although he played his part in their capture of the European Cup in 2000, before returning to PSG.

Another reasonably successful two-and-a-half years in Paris followed, before Anelka's thirst for a greater challenge got the better of him, and he returned to the Premier League, with a loan move to Liverpool, in December 2001. He played his part for Gerard Houllier's side, and would probably have felt he'd done enough to earn a permanent move after helping the Kop side to a second-place finish. Houllier wasn't interested, however a former Kop hero was, and Anelka joined Kevin Keegan's Manchester City that summer, in a then club-record 13m deal.

The Frenchman was a hit once again back in the English top-flight. His first campaign saw him hit 15 goals in 38 games, firing City into the UEFA Cup. In 2003-04, he bagged 17 in 32, as well as four goals in five UEFA Cup matches, before he was on the move once again, in January 2005.

This time it was destination Turkey, and Fenerbahce. After settling down in the remainder of the 2004-05 campaign, he fired in 10 in 25, as well as helping his side in the Champions League. However, synonomous with his ever-on-the-move form, he spent only eighteen months in Turkey, before another Premier League return.

It was another club record deal that brought him back to the North West, with Sam Allardyce splashing out 8m to bring him to Bolton. Once again, on English soil, it looked good value for money, with the striker returning with 22 goals in eighteen months at the Reebok. A change of manager at Bolton at the start of the 2008-09 season caused concern with the striker, and interest from Chelsea the following January had him packing his bags and moving on again.

The much-travelled Nicolas Anelka was signed by Avram Grant in January 2008, despite later claims that the Israeli didn't want the French forward. He took a bit of time to settle down in West London, scoring only once in his first season, and famously missed the decisive penalty kick in Moscow that denied the Blues Champions League glory.

The 2008-09 campaign was a much brighter one for Anelka, with him wrapping up the Premier League Golden Boot award, with 19 league goals. He profited under the tutelage of Luiz Felipe Scolari, with the Brazilian unwilling to start Didier Drogba, however Anelka continued to flourish, albeit from a wider position, under Guus Hiddink from February onwards.

Under new manager Carlo Ancelotti, the Frenchman has hit eleven goals already this season, however an ongoing contract dispute between him and the club continues to threaten his West London future.

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