Notoriously sulky Frenchman, Nicolas Anelka, just might be able to put a smile back on his face this Janaury as West Ham are looking set to relieve the well travelled striker of his misery in China with a return to the Premier League (link).
After less than a year in the far east, Anelka is looking to leave his position of player/coach at Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua and is keen on a return to England after failing to settle in China.
West Ham’s Sam Allardyce therefore is hoping he can reignite the form that Anelka showed under him at Bolton from 2006 to 2008 when the French striker rediscovered his form that eventually led to a move to Chelsea.
It was Big Sam who lured Anelka back to England after an unsuccessful period at Fenerbahce in 2005 and he will be confident that he will be able to convince him to leave behind his £250,000 a week deal in China for a final flourish in the Premier League.
Anelka would surely welcome the opportunity to return to the unrivaled thrill of the Premier League and also the chance to work under Big Sam again as he has a reputation for getting the best out of players in their twilight years.
In his time at Bolton, Sam managed to attract and get the best out of veterans Fernando Hierro and Jay-Jay Okocha and he is still doing it at West Ham with Kevin Nolan and Jussi Jaaskelainen.
However, like some of his signings at Bolton, West Ham and Sam may have to offer Anelka quite a lucrative deal to tempt him back to England and this could be too much of a strain on the Hammers finances.
But if you want to sign quality players in the modern era of football then you have to splash the cash.
Anelka would be a very canny addition to the Hammers squad, being able to find his feet quickly under a manager he has already worked for and returning to a league that he has played in 352 times before.
There is no doubt Anelka would add some real cutting edge to Big Sam’s attack as he is a proven goalscorer in the Premier League which is something that West Hams current strikers have struggled to live up to.
The Hammers have been linked with some sensational and frankly unrealistic targets in the recent past (Beckham, Rio Ferdinand) but this Anelka transfer does have some genuine plausibility and would be a great signing for West Ham and the striker himself.