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Arsenal: Arsene Wenger had masterclass over Nicolas Anelka

Mikel Arteta appears to be bringing back the good times to Arsenal, with the club winning their opening five Premier League matches, overtaking their previous best of winning the first four matches of the league campaign, set in 2003/2004.

For the Arsenal supporters of a certain age, this was one of the finest seasons in the club’s history, with Arsene Wenger leading them to an unbeaten league season, winning their last Premier League crown to date.

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The Frenchman revolutionised the way the club operated and built a wonderful team that became one of the best on the continent. He signed players with potential and sold them for big profit such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, and Marc Overmars.

Wenger arguably had arguably his best piece of business with a talented young French forward who was signed for next to nothing before moving on to the biggest club on the planet…

Wenger had masterclass over Nicolas Anelka

Anelka arrived in London for a mere £500k in 1997 from PSG. The 17-year-old talent, a lot of it, but it was a chance for Wenger to develop this skinny hitman and it would be in England where he began his rise to the top.

28 goals in 87 appearances for the club doesn’t scream prolific, but this was a player who was establishing himself as one of the continent’s greatest teenagers.

Real Madrid came calling in the summer of 1999 and Wenger sold Anelka for a fee of £22.3m, making a staggering £21.8m profit on a player who hadn’t even turned 20.

Unfortunately, his spell in Spain didn’t work out, arriving as one of the most sought-after teenagers in world football, he left La Liga hoping for another big club to take a chance on him.

It wasn’t until he joined Chelsea in 2008 via Paris, Istanbul, and Bolton, nine years after he left Arsenal, that he began to show his maturity and saw him described as a “match-winner” by Phil McNulty.

Anelka scored 59 goals for Chelsea, the most prolific spell of his club career, and won another Premier League crown along with two FA Cups. The teenager who was expected to take over the world in 1999 finally began to hone his prodigious talent.

Was selling Anelka an Arsenal masterstroke?

Yes

Yes

No

No

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12 clubs in a near two-decade career saw the Frenchman labelled a journeyman and who knows what might have been had he remained at Highbury, he would certainly have scored more than his eventually 171 career goals, that’s for sure.

What we know is, Wenger made one of the best decisions of his managerial career in making more than £20m in profit from the mercurial forward.

Article title: Arsenal: Arsene Wenger had masterclass over Nicolas Anelka

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