Allardyce keen on Anelka reunion

 

Sam Allardyce, the West Ham United manager, admits he would be interested in a January move for Nicolas Anelka.

The 33-year-old is currently playing in China for Shanghai Shenhua, but has been linked with a move back to the Premier League.

Allardyce, whose side host Stoke City tonight, signed Anelka for Bolton in 2006 and would like to work with the France striker again.

"It could interest me, of course it could," he said. "It would be of interest if that is a possibility financially for us and he wanted to come.

"I have had no conversations with Nicolas' agent or anything like that at this time."

Anelka signed for Bolton from Turkish side Fenerbahçe, and his form earned him a big move to Chelsea a year and a half later.

Allardyce, who has yet to see loan signing Andy Carroll score for the Hammers, believes Anelka transformed his Bolton side.

He said: "His professionalism and dedication was why he was such a good player and we never had problems at Bolton at the time he was with us. He was the difference – he was the reason we went into the top end, the top four, rather than the top eight."

Over the years, much has been made of Anelka's demeanour, but Allardyce reckons the perception is off the mark and hopes he could be tempted back to London.

Asked whether he ever had a problem with Anelka's questionable temperament Allardyce said: "He never was like that in his entire time I had him.

"I think he has always been dedicated but he got sidetracked by certain situations through his younger days but he learned from that, his experience across Europe.

Odds: West Ham Evens Draw 9-4 Stoke 3-1

Kick-off Tonight, 8pm (Sky Sports 1)

Referee Chris Foy (St Helens)

Team news James Collins and Guy Demel are pushing for recalls for West Ham. Stoke await news on Glenn Whelan; Dean Whitehead is banned and Rory Delap and Marc Wilson are out.

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