LIAM Ridgewell admits Nicolas Anelka’s arrival at The Hawthorns has caused a real buzz in the Albion dressing room – and hopes it will help attract other transfer targets.
The summer signing trained with his new team-mates for the first time yesterday as head coach Steve Clarke put his players through their paces ahead of the new season.
And Ridgewell insists bringing in a player of Anelka’s quality will spur the squad on to bigger and better things when the Barclays Premier League kicks off in less than six weeks’ time.
“As soon as the news came through that Nicolas was coming there was a buzz between the lads,” said Ridgewell.
“The players have all been in contact over the past few days and we’ve all spoken about it.
“We’re all really pleased with the signing.
“It’s a real coup for us to be signing a player of that calibre.
“He’s an unbelievable player and it’s good to see him wearing Albion gear.
“It was great to get into training with him yesterday.
“We all know what he’s about.
“He’s a quality player and everyone knows that.
“You could see that in training.
“When you see him running with the ball it’s brilliant.
“Hopefully he can produce that quality for us on the pitch.”
And left-back Ridgewell, who joined the Baggies from Blues 18 months ago, believes prospective targets will be impressed the club has secured Anelka’s services.
“Hopefully now we can bring more quality like that into the squad,” he added.
“Potential signings will have looked at the signing and taken note.
“Players will want to play with players like Nicolas.
“His name and reputation as a player says it all.
“Hopefully he can live up to it and do well this season.
“I’ve played against him a few times and he’s always been very good.”
And Ridgewell is looking forward to reaping the rewards for his hard work in training when Albion kick off their pre-season opener against Hannover 96 on Thursday week.
“We’re all pleased to be back in," he said.
“The sessions are going well and it’s just nice for us all to get our boots back on.
“The double sessions are tough and hopefully we can come through them stronger.
“Once you’re back in you’re just looking forward to playing again.”