Rumours: Nicolas Anelka

Anelka - Prodigal Son? Pure, ironic symmetry: 1999: Anelka and brothers engineer a £23m move away from Arsenal to Real Madrid; Arsenal bring in ‘stumbling’ winger Thierry Henry. 2007: The greatest Arsenal player of all time leaves Arsenal for Barcelona, Anelka is tipped to replace him. Could you have written it? It seems many people already have. Nicolas Anelka is reported to be in Wenger’s sights to replace the icon that was Thierry Henry. On his day, Anelka is a sublime striker, gifted in pace, flair, one hell of a long shot (see his goal against Arsenal at the Reebok?), and some typically French nobody-is-fit-to-lick-my-boots attitude.

Of course, such a character divides opinion, predictably enough. Have Arsenal fans forgiven him? Will the board sanction the transfer? Has he grown up? Has his face ever been shaved? It’s easy to get ticked off at Arsenal fans’ pettiness with things like white shirts, these days…surely 8 or 9 years is a long enough time to get over it?

In honest opinion, it is unlikely the board would stand in the way of Wenger signing a player, especially one of Anelka’s ability, and given the length of time since all the trouble occured. Anyone pushing this envelope is determined to convince the world we need a debt-laden takeover.

RUMOUR ANALYSIS
Clubs interested:
Arsenal, Manchester Utd
Possible destinations: Arsenal, Manchester Utd
Pros: Flair player, sublime abilities at times, could have been Arsenal’s Henry equivalent had he not left, has experience to offer.
Cons: Baggage seems to follow Nicolas everywhere – though Wenger has Robin van Persie as a testament to his handling of such things.
Rating: 8/10 – Both likely and a fantastic signing, on paper at least. Anelka’s signing would show that Wenger himself is signing on for a few more years, as well.

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