Arsenal’s African Players Number 10 – Marouane Chamakh

It may be hard to believe now but Arsenal and Liverpool were interested in Chamakh for a couple of years due to his exploits in France. As a free transfer it made sense, a proven goal scorer without any fee, allowing you to pay off your stadium debt. If we had paid any money for him, you could argue he was the worst signing of all time, as a free agent never intended to be first choice, it proved harmless.

Chamakh played 67 Scored 14

He actually started his Arsenal life on fire, the majority of his entire goals in his 2-year stay coming in his first 5 months, including being the first man to score in 6 consecutive Champions League games. The turning point came when Van Persie returned from a long-term injury. At a time when we played one up front, the Dutchman was always going to be an automatic choice, no matter what had gone on in his absence. Whether this was poor man management or a bad attitude, the Moroccan lost all confidence, finding himself on the bench, going 2 months without starting, with even Bendtner jumping ahead of him.

The player himself admitted he felt the strain of the winter schedule, claiming ‘burn out ‘ and losing his age. From December – April, he would score one against Orient in the cup. As his teammates choked in the title race, the striker had become a forgotten man. Why I think he may have upset management with his behaviour was because Mr Wenger seemed to write him off after one campaign, clearly not having him in his thoughts anymore. Mirroring current issues, it took years to offload him due to his huge salary. Even when scoring twice in the League Cup at Reading, 10 months after his last start, he was left out the next weekend.

This was now impacting his position with Morocco, with the manager dropping him for his lack of minutes. We were still paying some of his salary when he went first to West Ham where he scored 0 goals and at Palace where he scored 4. Selhurst Park did admire his work rate, but a one-year deal again led to 4 goals. With 7 goals in 4 years, he struggled to find an employer apart from a 2-game cameo at Cardiff so decided to retire in 2019.

You could argue the final 9 years of this man’s career were depressing, with him often reminding people how well he had begun in England. The fact that no club for 2 years would give him an opportunity suggests there might be an aspect not made public.
At least he left a legacy at Bordeaux.

Dan Smith


  1. Whenever I think of Chamakh, I think of sitting there at the Madejski stadium, watching him score those 2 goals in that amazing 7-5 comeback! What a game!

    1. That was an amazing game! It’s one of our games I always enjoy watching again.

      I always remind my friend of that one, as he got free tickets at the last min, but couldn’t get there until after half time. He was driving down, and turned back at 4-0. Poor guy!

  2. I don’t live too far from Reading, so had to get tickets.. but….had to sit amongst the Reading lot (?) that was fun, especially going 4-0 down! The last 2 goals we scored, I leapt out of my seat.. didn’t go down very well.. the guy sat next to me ripped his shirt off to show his Arsenal top.. it was brilliant.. one of the best games I’ve been to TMJW, it had everything!

    1. That sounds like a brilliant experience. I’ll have to tell my friend your story, and make him feel that little bit worse.

    2. Oh wow. I don’t live too far from Reading too and went to the game just because it was local. My memory of Chamakh is actually the ‘it’s done’ celebration for the last goal he scored.

  3. He started well but went missing so fast. Half of those goals must have been in his first few months at the club

  4. My wife’s 50th Birthday 10th November 2010.Where did I take her?Paris?Rome?New York.No.Wolverhampton.We played away on a cold Wednesday evening.Won 2-0 with Chamakh scoring in the 1st and 90th minutes and we were rubbish for the whole 88 minutes between the goals.She is a lucky girl my wife as I tell her every day.

  5. I think he scored 12 in 12 and I had really high hopes but RVP came back and it went downhill after that.

  6. Reading game is also what i’ll remember him most for. Ranks as one of the craziest AFC games in recent memory. And Giroud throwing his shirt into the crowd thinking a replay came after FT was hilarious ?

  7. This guy was another bargain basement signing when the club was trying too balance the books during the Highbury to Emirates switch.

    I don’t remember pool being interested in him Dan, but take your word for it.

    One of those players who, it seemed, tried so very hard to make it but never did.

    He never ever installed confidence in front of goal and I often forgot he was on the pitch.

    One of AW’s many poor signings while balancing said move, still he goes down in history as part of THAT Reading cup tie.

    1. One of Arsene’s worst signings for me Ken. I once saw him turn so many times on the centre circle he came not knowing which way he was facing.

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