So it has been confirmed. Nicolas Anelka will be leaving
Europe’s shores next month to join Shanghai Shenshua in China.
At 32, the club will be the 9th
club (and 5th league) that Anelka has represented in a career that
started back in 1996 at Paris-St-Germain. Since then, the Frenchman also played
for Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbache, Bolton and
Chelsea. The move is likely to earn him almost double than what he currently
earns at Chelsea, despite being on the fringes of the first team in recent
times. Apparently, Anelka will be cashing in € 234,000 per week; earnings that
would make Samuel Eto’o proud all the way in Russia.
Wherever Anelka has played, two things have almost always been certain:
firstly, he’s always done the job. He’s always scored, assisted, or performed
to a certain level on the pitch which guaranteed that he was always considered
a threat by opponents. Regardless of whether he is liked or not, as a
footballer, he’s always done what he gets paid to do…and well; secondly, he has
always sulked, complained and argued. He earned himself the nickname “Le Sulk”
back in his Arsenal days when he was agitating for a move to Real Madrid (which
ended up being the worst period of his career). His obvious lack of interest in
staying at Arsenal, and developing himself under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger,
made sure that the nickname stuck wherever he went…and rightly so.
His stints, long or short, with the numerous clubs he played for always proved
that the man has always been an awkward character (just ask the French national team). Generally described as moody
and difficult, his problems with coaches, management and other important
members of clubs, as well as the French Football Federation, have been well documented. Going to China, joining a club that
recently finished 11th in the league, in a country where he doesn't speak the language, with team-mates who probably don’t speak any language that
he speaks, where the league’s standards are much lower than what he’s used to –
will "Le Sulk" be sulking again soon?
It’s bound to happen. He’s complained about everything since the beginning of
his career wherever he’s roamed. The weather, the position he plays in, the
salary, the manager, the league, the club’s jerseys…everything. But with this move, Anelka
will find himself in a position of such power that, in one of the world’s
biggest economies, he’ll find himself complaining about much more than we’ll
expect - which is obviously a hobby of his. Sooner or later, we’re going to hear and read stories of Anelka being
unhappy and complaining about something in China - the pollution perhaps. Or
the overpopulation. Either way, "Le Sulk" will no longer be mainstream news. In
an attempt to make this sound dramatic, we could say “it’s the end of an era”
when speaking about Anelka’s time in Europe; but for those who’ve followed his
career from the start, "good riddance" is a better way of putting it. A good move for a player his age and for that salary (considering he's barely starting any more), he can't be blamed for it. Oh well! Can’t wait
to hear some sulking in Mandarin soon!