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Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK

The gloom behind the glory

Anelka must now return to the club he tried so hard to leave

The announcement that Nicolas Anelka is to stay at Arsenal will send shockwaves through the Highbury club.

Always a controversial figure, the fans undoubtedly loved his talent and the goals, but as the whingeing increased his popularity plummeted.

Despite his troubles, however, the French striker has enjoyed a dream period at the club.

[ image:  ]
He got 28 goals in 89 appearances and was leading scorer last season. But everything else about life in London seemed to get him down.

Because of his hostility towards the press, he snubbed the Young player of the Year Award ceremony in London where he was due to be honoured.

He once refused to get on the team bus for an away game because he thought his team mates took the mickey out him too much.

He was a loner and, according to one former Arsenal player, used to spend entire bus journeys plugged into his earphones and staring at his laptop.

[ image: Anelka transfer saga finally over]
Anelka transfer saga finally over
The saga of his transfer brought nobody any credit.

First he was supposed to be on his way to Real Madrid - the only club he really wanted to play for, according to Anelka.

But when Arsenal claimed that the Spanish club had made an illegal approach attention switched to Italy.

Lazio were first in with a bid but Arsenal wanted more than the 20m on offer. Weeks of talking followed.

Then Juventus upped the money and offered the French winger Thierry Henry as part of the deal.

But the haggling made Anelka so angry he threatened to go on strike and take his case to the European Court if the move to Lazio fell through.

[ image: Wenger: 'He wanted to leave for the money']
Wenger: 'He wanted to leave for the money'
Throughout it all, Anelka's two brothers Claude and Didier have been at his side acting as his agents - much to the disgust of the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Wenger says the club are determined to make a stand against the power of players and their agents and the latest news, that Anelka is staying put, seems to have done exactly that.

"He is 20 years old, a regular player with an ambitious club like Arsenal, is playing in the Champions League and is a regular international," he said.

"So there are no footballing reasons for him to leave. All the rest after that can only be money.The story is quite simple."


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