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By ESPN Staff
Sep 1, 2006

Anelka is no gamble for Trotters, says Houllier

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier believes Nicolas Anelka's return to the Premiership with Bolton could prove one of the success stories of the season.

Houllier took his French compatriot on loan while he was in charge at Anfield but decided against making the deal permanent.

However, he still reckons Wanderers boss Sam Allardyce may have procured the best piece of business when he purchased Anelka for a club record £8million during a frenetic spate of buying and selling before the transfer window shut on Thursday night.

The much-travelled Anelka, still only 27, has had a reputation for being hard to handle - which is thought to be one of the reasons why he never stays long at a particular club.

When he failed to hold down a first-team place at Liverpool four years ago, Anelka publicly criticised Houllier.

But his former boss has only good things to say about one of European football's most notorious club-hoppers, whose combined transfer fee now stands at more than £70m.

'He's one of the most gifted footballers I have ever seen,' said Houllier. 'He seems to have blossomed more in England than any other country and I really don't think he'll be a problem.

'The things he said about me were wrong - we simply decided not to take up an option to buy him and he went to Manchester City instead.'