Arsenal and Liverpool must beware the purple patch striker

Arsenal and Liverpool are both in the market for a striker this summer but both Reds must beware the devastating allure of a purple patch.

Marouane Chamakh arrived at the Emirates in 2010 as one of the top scorers in the 2009/10 Champions League season for Bordeaux of Ligue 1 – he 16 goals a season for two seasons running and at 26 years of age Arsene Wenger must have thought he’d be playing the peak years of his career in North London.

However, after an initially promising start for the Gunners, Chamakh became the floppiest flop of all flops that have ever flopped in the history of flopping.

He’s scored one solitary Premier League goal in the last three seasons for Arsenal, after being demoted to the bench, then the reserves, then the car park, he was shipped off to West Ham in January on loan where he scored no goals in three appearances for the Hammers.

But Wenger should have seen this coming – I don’t know if the Gunners boss has access to Wikipedia but a quick scroll down Chamakh’s page shows that prior to his 16 goals-a-season record in Ligue 1, there were three season where he scored less than 10 goals in more than 40 appearances for Bordeaux.

I’m not claiming to be Nostradamus but you could have predicted that Chamakh might turn out to be a bit of a flop. The only silver lining was that he was a free transfer – Arsenal paid £0 for him unlike, for example, Liverpool who spent £35 million on Andy Carroll.

In fairness to the Reds, it did look like he was going to become a very very good centre-forward – that kind of traditional number 9 in the mold of Alan Shearer.

But, like Chamakh the warning signs were there all along – in his first Premier League season for Newcastle, Carroll scored no goals, then after a loan spell in the Championship with Preston where he scored just one goal, he returned to Newcastle to score just three goals before hitting his purple patch in 2009/10 when he netted 19 goals in 42 appearances.

The following season before his transfer to Anfield, Carroll was hitting a ratio of a goal every two games but as soon he arrived in Liverpool his confidence and form seemed to evaporate into thin air.

At West Ham where he is reportedly set to transfer for £15 million (Liverpool will operate a £20 million loss on him) he’s seemed to resuscitate his career a little bit but still hasn’t reproduced his previous form at Newcastle.

As Brendan Rodgers and Arsene Wenger head into the transfer market this July they must learn from the mistakes made in the past (admittedly Carroll wasn’t Rodgers’ mistake, but still) – they should look for players who show consistency and who are proven at the highest level. The must beware being fooled by the purple patch strikers of Europe.

At present, names like Andreas Weimann, Michu and Son Heung-Min carry a lot of weight both domestically and continentally after one great season – a purple patch – but these players have yet to prove they can produce that kind of form and fitness and quality on a long-term basis.

One season does not make them worth the kind of figures their current clubs are asking for them. How did Liverpool waste £35 million on Andy Carroll and Arsenal waste three years on Marouane Chamakh?

Hype – Carroll was hailed as next England centre-forward and, who knows he may well turn out to be and Chamakh was, well, supposed to be a goal scorer at the very least.

How many goals did Weimann score in the previous season? Two. How many did Michu score in his last year at Celta Vigo? 7 in 33 appearances in the Spanish second division. Son Heung-Min? 5 goals in all competitions in 2011/12 for Hamberg and 3 goals the season before that.

Rodgers and Wenger must beware the hype but, most of all, they must beware the purple patch.

image: © ronmacphotos

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