French Muslim footballer Nicolas Anelka is set to join Italian side Juventus on a five-month loan deal. The former Arsenal, Real Madrid, Bolton, and Chelsea striker currently plays for Chinese team Shanghai Shenhua. A shake-up in the corporate structure of the Chinese team has led to the loaning out of both Anelka and their other star striker Didier Drogba. The Cote Dâ€™Ivoirian, Drogba, signed an 18-month contract with Turkish squad Galatasaray.
Juventus general manager, Beppe Marotta, told Sky Sport Italia that the 33-year-old Anelka would help solve an â€œemergencyâ€ situation in attack. â€œIt can be a good move for the short term, then at the end of the season weâ€™ll evaluate what must be done,â€ he said. â€œHe is filling a hole. It is a five-month contract with an option for the second season, if things go well. Anelkaâ€™s arrival rules out any other transfers because in this stage of the transfer window there are no other opportunities.â€
Anelka joined Shanghai a year ago and was joined subsequently by his former Chelsea team-mate Drogba. Anelka scored only three goals in 22 games as Shenhua finished ninth in the 16-team Chinese Super League. He also briefly served as player-coach after coach Jean Tigana was sacked. Anelka and Drogba were both embroiled in a dispute with the club over unpaid wages. Anelka has been a bit of a nomad during his professional playing career, having played for clubs all over the world. But this would be his first time playing for an Italian side. The European transfer window closes on February first.