The Moroccan striker has made just 2 appearances this season, both in the League Cup and has fallen out of favour at the Emirates due to a lack of form, fitness and confidence that has demoralized 28-year-old since his arrival from Bordeaux in 2010 – around 10 per season.
Chamakh is a more of traditional number 9 – but more than a decent header of the ball – he’s strong and combatant aerially and scored a high tally of goals for Bordeaux in that manner.
His positioning is intelligent and his runs lend themselves to teams who can put long balls in over the top or through balls bisecting the defence. He’s a poacher in the box – if you put in a decent cross, he can get on the end of it.
Arsene Wenger would never have signed him if his technique and passing were not of a sufficient level – he’s got good control, balance and agility and he’s no slow-coach either.
The main issue for him at Arsenal seems to be confidence and, after making an impressive start in his first season, he found himself slipping down the pecking order behind Robin van Persie.
Subsequently he lost his confidence and the only way a player, especially a striker, can combat that problem is by playing games but, unfortunately for Chamakh, he found himself caught in a vicious cycle – if he didn’t play, he couldn’t build his confidence and form back up, and because he was out form and low on confidence, Wenger wouldn’t play him.
He now has the opportunity to revive his career at a club that are at present a mid-table team in the Premier League – he’s not going to have to contribute to a relegation fight and he’s not going to have the pressure of playing for a top four club.
I think, on that basis, it’s the ideal destination – at least temporarily – and he can keep his family and his base in London, so it won’t present the kind of settling in difficulties that a move abroad would.
It’s reportedly a loan for the remainder of the season – hopefully he can get around ten first-team performances under his belt and then everyone involved can assess his progress (or lack thereof) in the summer.
If he manages to hit the ground running and make an impact for Sam Allardyce, he may be offered a permanent move and if he impresses Arsene Wenger he may be able to return to Arsenal with a hope of first-team football.
I think it’s also important that he’ll be reporting to Allardyce – he’s the complete antithesis of Wenger in approach, philosophy and style and I’m inclined to suggest that he’s the kind of man-manager that Chamakh could benefit from at this stage in his diminishing career.
Allardyce will know exactly what to do with Chamakh – tell him where he needs to run, what kinds of positions he should take up and he’ll be able to get the team creating attacking moves with his key attributes in mind.
I can see this being the best thing for everyone involved and, at the very least, surely it can’t do anyone any harm?
image: © ronmacphotos