How exactly is Nicolas Anelka a better player than Fabio Quagliarella or any other striker Juventus have on their squad? Anything might be better than Nicklas Bendtner, but it doesn’t mean that the veteran Frenchman is the answer to Juve losing their huge lead on top of the serie A, and his signing seems like a panic move without any real future to it.
Anelka scored only six league goals on his last full season for Chelsea in 2010-2011. He added one more before leaving to China the next year, where the 33 year old scored only three times for Shanghai Shenhua. Unlike other players, Anelka isn’t exactly known for his leadership skills in the dressing room and some motivational effect he should have on his players. Based on the fact that he was brought for his football skills, it’s hard to see what Juventus think they’ll get from this deal.
Insurance against injuries? Possibly widening their strikers-pool is an option, but even if January is a terrible time to find a deal and Fernando Llorente, a forward they really wanted, can only come in July, there had to be a few other options that were better than Anelka, looking to get a last taste of Europe and another league he’s never played in before his retirement.
Juventus’ problems, believe it or not, are not necessarily about the man at the edge of the pyramid. Mirko Vucinic’s form this season has been terrible most of the time; the front-playmaker isn’t bringing to the table the same kind of clever passing he did last season. The injury to one of the best central defenders in the world, Giorgio Chiellini, has destabilized the defense, obviously effecting the players in front as well. Not seeing Andrea Pirlo on the pitch isn’t helping as well.
Juventus’ power earlier this season and obviously last year wasn’t about who was the striker – Matri, Quagliarella, Vucinic, it didn’t really matter. With a solid defense and a midfield unit that was very fluid and flexible, they seemed like too much for anyone in Italy and earlier this season, likely to put up quite a fight against anyone in Europe. Now? There’s not a single thing Nicolas Anelka brings to the table that wasn’t already there, except potential for problems. Goal scoring That’s not Juventus’ biggest problem, and it’s not something Anelka is likely to bring with him anyway.