It was as far back as June 2008 when Chamakh was linked seriously with Arsenal but already then he had set his sights on staying in France until his contract expired in 2010.
“I will reach the end of my contract in 2010. I haven’t met any officials yet. I am open to Bordeaux or anything else,” he told L’Equipe magazine at the time. “In principle, I will not leave for another French club. My objective if I have to leave Les Girondins is to go abroad, preferably to England. Let’s wait for the end of the current season to see if we will play in the Champions League and if the coach (Laurent Blanc) will stay. A London club is always exciting. I really like Arsenal,”
With the departure of Adebayor in summer 2009 there were concerted efforts to bring him to the club last year but for whatever reason that proved impossible and he was signed on a free this summer. With the injury problems affecting our strikers so badly last season it was a shame we had to wait but he has proved his worth already this season.
In 13 games he has scored 6 times and in the process has set a champion`s league record of scoring in 6 consecutive games, three times for Bordeaux and in his first three CL games for Arsenal. The more controversial aspect of his time in the PL so far has been the number of penalties he has won. Not so much whether there was contact or not because I`ve yet to see one where he has gone down without definite contact being made but more in the manner in which he falls. Wenger said in a matchday program that it was something he had asked Chamakh about.
“I have spoken with Marouane about the way he appears to fall,” Le Boss said “He said to me that people have told him that since he started playing the game, and he never does it on purpose, it is just the way he falls when he gets fouled. He says if he was to do it another way he would get injured. He said it [Scott Dann`s tackle in the B`ham game] was a foul, and also against Chelsea he was fouled by Ramires – 100 per cent.”
There are bound to be those scornful of the idea that falling safely is the best option to minimise injury when brought down but there is logic there for those open to it. To my mind though it misses the fact that it`s Chamakh`s awareness and movement that induces what are quite often desperate last ditch tackles that don`t stand a great deal of chance of getting the ball anyway. He is as adept at finding space in the box as almost anyone we`ve had. Coupled with a great work rate and willingness to work for the team he is proving to be quite a find.
By all accounts he is quite a bright fellow too with an active interest in history and politics. “You shouldn’t think that all footballers just play football and then their PlayStation” he told reporters recently. Having chosen to play for his parent`s native Morocco instead of opting for the more lucrative option of France he doesn`t seem to be as motivated purely by money as some clearly are either.
With Bendtner now back from injury and van Persie likely to be available sometime next month Marouane has been able to stake a claim for a starting spot more positively than might have been expected for a forward so new to the PL and hopefully has given us a different striker problem to the one we had last season.
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