Arsenal sign French rising star – Classic transfer

first_img Nicolas Anelka (right) holding the 1998 Charity Shield trophy Back in February 1997, Arsenal spent the relatively paltry sum of £500,000 on an unknown 17-year-old striker. talkSPORT recalls how this gangly youngster progressed rapidly into one of Europe’s most coveted players…Jaap Stam will tell you blistering pace was definitely an asset of Nicolas Anelka’s.Arsenal’s teenage sensation left the Man United centre-back – one of the best defenders in football at the time – in his wake in the Gunners’ 1998 Charity Shield win to score the third in a 3-0 win.It was a great start to the season for the Gunners and for the confident 19-year-old, who had helped Arsenal clinch the double two months previously with a 2-0 FA Cup final win against Newcastle.It was incredible to think that just a year earlier Anelka had arrived at Arsenal from Paris Saint-Germain in a £500,000 deal, having scored just one senior goal for the French club. Though his time at Highbury would be successful, as he helped cement Arsene Wenger’s reputation as a top class manager, it would also be short.Morning all – it’s 18 years since @Arsenal signed Nicolas Anelka— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 23, 2015Anelka was effectively the bridge between Arsenal’s two most prolific goal scorers, helping keep the 1997/98 double winners on track when the ageing Ian Wright was injured, but leaving the club before Thierry Henry made his mark.In his final season with Arsenal the young striker was named the PFA Young Player of the Year, but he had grown disillusioned with life in the English capital, believing a bright future lay ahead with European heavyweights Real Madrid, who he joined for £23m.He signed off in typically explosive style, too. When asked if he would be watching Arsenal play Man United in the 1999 Charity Shield he said: “Why should I? I’m no longer part of Arsenal and it doesn’t interest me.“To hell with the English people.”So what would Arsenal do without the cocky striker, who scored 28 goals in 90 games?Easy. Using the transfer money, they first signed 1998 World Cup Golden Boot winner Davor Suker for £3.5m and then paid Juventus £11m for a talented, but struggling winger by the name of Henry.And the Arsenal fans came up with their own way to remind Anelka he wasn’t missed by belting out the chant: ‘Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cheroo. Who needs Anelka when we’ve got Kanu’.He was back in England a few years later, though, when he joined Liverpool on loan from PSG in 2001 having rejoined the French club from Real in 2000.It turned out that the future in Spain was not so bright, despite winning the 2000 Champions League.His final taste of Premier League action after spells at Man City, Bolton and Chelsea, came in the 2013/14 season when he was sacked by West Brom for ‘gross misconduct’ following the controversy surrounding his ‘quenelle’ gesture.Now 35, Anelka is currently without a club following subsequent short stays in India, Algeria and Indonesia.But for Arsenal fans of a certain age, he will always be the young striker who clinched the double. 1last_img read more