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West Brom Keen To Sign Celtic Striker After Worries Over Anelka Future

Baggies could make emergency move for Republic of Ireland international.

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West Brom could make an emergency move for Celtic striker Anthony Stokes, as manager Steve Clarke faces the prospect of new signing Nicolas Anelka retiring, CaughtOffside understands.

Veteran striker Anelka, who only joined West Brom earlier this summer, has been granted temporary compassionate leave by the club after the sudden death of his agent, but Clarke admits he is uncertain whether the 34-year-old will return to the club or choose to hang up his boots.

The signing of the former Arsenal and Chelsea forward was seen as great business by Clarke this summer, as he has looked to replace the highly influential Romelu Lukaku, who scored 17 goals for the club in a loan spell last season, but who has returned to parent club Chelsea for this campaign.

Anelka was joined by Matej Vydra upfront, with the talented young Czech striker joining on loan from Udinese, but Clarke is still concerned that he is short of options upfront, with Peter Odemwingie also likely to leave before the end of the transfer window.

Clarke admits he hopes Anelka can come to a decision over his future quickly, with not long left remaining in the transfer window to bring in a replacement, though it is now understood that he has made enquiries into the signing of Celtic and Republic of Ireland striker Stokes.

The 25-year-old last played in the Premier League in a disappointing spell with Sunderland as a youngster, after starting his career coming through the ranks at Arsenal. He has since gone on to make a name for himself in Scottish football, scoring 24 goals in 48 appearances for Hibernian before moving to Celtic in 2010.

Stokes has continued his fine form with Celtic, though he endured a slightly disappointing campaign last year, and has been linked with Championship side Leeds at points this summer.

The prolific marksman is now in the final year of his contract with the SPL giants, and could be available for a knock-down price of just £2million, and Clarke may feel he is unlikely to find a better bargain with so little time remaining in the transfer window.

Stokes would join fellow Irishman Shane Long in the West Brom team, and will be eager to prove himself in England’s top flight again after struggling in his early career. If he moves, he will become the third Celtic player to move to the Premier League this summer, following Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper, who signed for Southampton and Norwich, respectively.

Baggies fans will be disappointed to lose Anelka though, with the big-name signing making just one Premier League appearance for the club after an otherwise successful career in England with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton and Chelsea.

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