Nicolas Anelka was all set to join the 14th club of his nomadic professional career, Nasr Athletique d’Hussein-Dey (NAHD), but has been refused permission to join the Algerian club as he is “too old.”
It’s not a subjective judgment that prevented Anelka from signing for the Ligue 1 (Algeria) club, though. Player requirement rules in Algeria are quite clear: Clubs are only allowed to sign foreigners under the age of 27 who appear regularly for their respective national team.
Anelka meets, of course, neither of those requirements. The former Arsenal, Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester City and Chelsea (and many more) forward is 35 years old and last appeared for the French national team in 2010.
That said, perhaps the Algerian league officials should take a closer look at this one. Maybe even make an exception to allow Anelka to be signed.
Before the creation of the Designated Player rule, the LA Galaxy would have never been able to sign David Beckham. Because Major League Soccer created the DP rule to facilitate the world superstar’s signing, the league — and ultimately the sport across the country — benefited immensely.
Algerian soccer is already on its way up at the moment. The national team has qualified for the last two World Cups, advancing to the Round of 16 in 2014 on the back of an exciting, young generation of players making their names with various clubs all across Europe.
Anelka’s only looking for an 18-month deal, and surely the potential benefit far outweighs any negative that could come from allowing a player with Anelka’s profile to play week in and week out in a growing domestic league.