With seven games remaining in the Premier League, is Marouane Chamakh fighting for his Arsenal future? Will Arsene Wenger even give him the necessary playing time to allow him to do so?
While the Moroccan’s start to the season might not exactly be described as spectacular, his fall since November has been. With a respectable eleven goals to his name after netting at Villa Park, the former Bordeaux man has only a tap-in against Leyton Orient to his name in the last five months. Sure, the return from injury of Robin van Persie was always likely to push Chamakh down the pecking order, but I don’t think anyone could have seen things going quite this badly, and the player courted by Wenger for over two years now doesn’t seem to be in his plans at all.
I remember his signing did not get me particularly excited at the time, but I was pleasantly surprised by his goal tally and overall contribution in the first few months of the season. And even now, when you look at the combined hundreds of millions spent on the likes of Mario Ballotelli, Edin Dzeko, Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll this season, for a free transfer he looks like a decent bit of business.
But at 27 years of age, is he really going to get any better than this? He has never before surpassed 16 goals in his career – and apart from this season that’s all been in the French league. Of course there’s always the chance we have a Drogba-esque late bloomer on our hands, but you never know, and that’s the gamble when you constantly bring in players from other leagues, who might or might not adapt to the game in England.
With Aston Villa having a terrible season, might this be the best time to try to lure Ashley Young away? A cash + Chamakh offer might be enough to tempt Houllier, who gets on with Wenger and would probably jump at the chance to sign a French-speaker, and in return we’d be getting a younger, better, and proven Premier League player, who gets double figures in goals and assists every season in a less attack-minded team than ours.
With the excellent van Persie still proving so injury prone, and Nicklas Bendtner not looking good enough for Arsenal, we need a backup player who is good enough to really compete to be first choice. Time might be running out for Chamakh to prove he can be that player.