Club News

Albion seal Anelka deal

Clarke hopes striker will inspire rest of his squad to 'greater heights'

ALBION have pulled off a major coup by making former Barclays Premier League Golden Boot winner Nicolas Anelka their first summer signing.

The striker has penned a one-year deal, with a further year’s option in the club’s favour, after passing a Hawthorns medical.

Anelka, who was a free agent after leaving Italian champions Juventus at the end of last season, will wear his customary No.39 shirt for the Baggies.

He has vast experience in England’s top flight having played for Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton and Chelsea, as well as possessing a wealth of Champions League and international know-how.

And he stands joint-12th in the all-time Barclays Premier League scoring chart with 123 goals to his name.

Head coach Steve Clarke worked with the 34-year-old for a brief spell at Stamford Bridge in 2008 and is delighted a player of such pedigree is now part of his Albion squad.

“We are missing a bit of firepower from last year – we’re trying to put that right – and to kick off with the signing of Nicolas at the start of the summer is a great boost for everyone at the club,” he said.

“The sole focus at the club is trying to build on what we did last season.

“The more quality players you can bring to the club the better – and no-one can question Nicolas’ quality.

“He’s a player I have worked with before as I was at Chelsea when they signed him.

“He’s got a great work ethic, looks after himself and is a consummate professional.

“If you add that to the obvious talent he’s got I think he can prove to be a really top signing for the club.

“His experience with some of the top clubs in England and Europe will stand the group in good stead.

“Hopefully he will be able to inspire the other players to even greater heights than we managed to achieve last year.”

Anelka boasts league and FA Cup doubles to his name with Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as national titles with Fenerbahce in Turkey and Juventus in Italy.

He won the Champions League with Real Madrid in 2000, scoring in both legs of the semi-final against Bayern Munich – and starting the final.

In the same year he also lifted the European Championship trophy with France.

The 6ft1in hotshot retired from international football in summer 2010 after earning 69 caps and scoring 14 times.

Albion Sporting & Technical Director (Designate) Richard Garlick added: “We’ve been in discussions with Nicolas and his representatives for a while, since we knew he was going to be a free agent.

“He’s eager to come back to the Premier League, his CV speaks for itself, and he is in good physical shape.

“It says a lot about where we are as a club that we are able to attract players of his calibre.”

In total, Anelka has made 646 career appearances, including games as a substitute, scoring 204 goals.