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Can Nicolas Anelka still cut it in the Premier League?
The BBC reports Nicolas Anelka is busy having a medical for his 6th Premier League club, West Brom, but the question is, does he still have what it takes to be a striker in probably the best league in the world?
West Brom are hardly struggling. Finishing an excellent 8th last season, they never looked like struggling, registering 26 points by the end of November, the same as Chelsea after 14 games and 1 more than QPR managed all season! But, with the departure of Romelu Lukaku, who contributed 17 goals in 35 games, they may very well need a replacement to fill such a void. Anelka is 34 though, and it remains to be seen as to if he will be able to perform on this stage again, as he once did for Arsenal, Chelsea, Bolton, Man City and Liverpool.
Anelka is out of contract, so with no transfer fee, it's entirely possible the Baggies could plough some considerable money into his wages, but what return would be required in order for this to be good business? 10 goals? 15? The first priority of the club is of course to avoid relegation, but most people would expect that to not be so much of an issue as it so often has been before. Finishing above Hull, Crystal Palace, and Cardiff should be a formality, with or without Anelka, however this must raise the inquiry as to what exactly either of the protagonists will get from this union. Is it one final fling for Anelka and West Brom seek to profit from that, or is it a star name to draw in more crowds at the Hawthorns, which will then, in combination with goals scored and thus places gained in the table, perhaps then make him pay for himself? Or maybe Steve Clarke just seriously believes he CAN replace Lukaku for a season? With little to lose it's a gamble the fans can speculate wildly about, while taunting local rivals Wolves that they can attract such a stellar name while they languish in League 1. The feelgood factor this gives the club may on its own be worth the wages.
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