Chelsea may have found their new Nicolas Anelka, but he surely won't play for them this season - TCC View
Nicolas Anelka was a man of many footballing colours.
Across a star-studded senior career that spanned 19-years, the former French international played for no fewer than 12 different clubs.
Eighth on his list was Chelsea in 2008, having spent several seasons scoring goals for Bolton Wanderers.
Anelka enjoyed arguably the best football of his sporting life at Stamford Bridge.
He won the Premier League, two FA Cups and claimed the Golden Boot in 2008/09.
However, his success was not exactly preempted.
Anelka the understudy
Avram Grant paid Bolton £15m (Sky Sports) for the centre-forward’s services, largely to deputise for Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Andrei Shevchenko.
At the time of the former Arsenal attacker’s arrival, Drogba and Kalou were taking part in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Meanwhile, Shevchenko was side-lined through an ankle injury, leaving Grant without his three first-choice frontmen.
In that first month as a Blue, Anelka started four times across all competitions and scored once as the hole-filler.
Once Drogba and Kalou returned, the 42-year-old found his minutes spread out more sporadically.
Grant generally used the two Ivorian’s, Florent Malouda or Joe Cole in the more significant fixtures, like the Champions League final.
Yet, by the following campaign, Anelka was truly embedded into the starting line-up and forged a fine partnership with Drogba, rather than playing back-up to him.
All change for Chelsea
Anelka left Chelsea in 2012, just as another, upcoming striker walked through the Cobham gates.
Romelu Lukaku joined the Blues in 2011, before embarking on his own mission across the continent.
He landed back in South West London over the summer as Thomas Tuchel’s number one number nine.
But, with just five goals so far in his second spell, the Belgian could benefit from some support in the offensive department.
Presenting Armando Broja, who had his shooting boots on for Southampton last night.
Broja netted his sixth of the term during the Saints’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace yesterday, highlighting the quality Chelsea allowed to let go in the previous window.
His talents will surely have given Tuchel food for thought about reintroducing the Albanian into the squad once his loan spell concludes.
Much like Grant with Anelka and Drogba, the Blues boss might want to use Broja initially as a reserve to Lukaku.
Over time, however, the two could easily strike up a relationship and form a deadly duo for years to come.
If Tuchel wanted to instigate this sooner rather than later, there is a clause in Broja’s contract that allows Chelsea to recall him in January.
The likelihood of this scenario is extremely slim, due to his importance to Southampton.
Yet, did anyone predict Anelka’s move to the Bridge? Expect the unexpected…