Is Anelka worth a gamble?

The MEN ran an editorial which suggested that Nicolas Anelka should be the option that Sven-Gorna Eriksson turns to should he decide to reinforce the striking department before the deadline closes on Friday, something which should it happen would no doubt divide opinion amongst fans.

With the injury to Valeri Bojinov it does leave us light up front with the trio of Vassell, Samaras and Corradi out of favour leaving only Bianchi and Mpenza as options for Eriksson, and it was apparant that there were a couple of chances that went begging against Arsenal on Saturday.

Thinking from a purely playing perspective, the prospect of Anelka fitting in with this current side is definitely a mouth watering one with his pace and ability to run at a defence providing a different option from the other strikers we have. Think of him linking in with the likes of Petrov, Elano and Geovanni and he would add another dimension to a side that has played some really positive stuff so far this season.

The downside of Anelka though is of course his attitude, or at least perceived attitude, with the 'Le Sulk' references still ringing true to this day. His spell at the club ended in acrimony with the accusation that he engineered a move away from the club, and while he wanted away I believe this was for footballing reasons as Anelka became disillusioned with the direction (or lack of it) the club was heading in and he had a strong desire to play again in the Champions League. However, there was no disputing the fact that his body language was poor towards the end of his spell and could his return to the club upset the harmony that has been created thus far by Eriksson and his team.

Chris Bailey provided a near character reference for Anelka (perhaps trying to smooth fan opinion for an impending return?), evidencing that he has now married and a more rounded and mature person these days and there are as many anecdotes from former colleagues to hail him as a 'team man' as there are those who paint him as a disruptive influence - notably close to the club in Shaun Goater and Robbie Fowler.

There have been other forwards linked this week as we head to the closure of the transfer window - with Adriano (another who could be filed under the 'disruptive' label) another player linked with us this week.

So, should Eriksson take a chance on Anelka if he is available and wants the move? I think Eriksson is the type of coach that would get the best out of Anelka and there is a positive air about the club at the moment which he should respond to.

I am really undecided on this. Sure it would be a gamble, but one I think worth taking from a footballing perspective. If you were solely bringing that on board it would be a no brainer.

Any thoughts?

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