Marouane Chamakh recently announced his retirement from playing football at the age of 35 and has been speaking about his time at Arsenal when he was sidelined by Robin van Persie.
Signed from Girondins de Bordeaux, the Moroccan forward arrived at Arsenal on the back of a season where he had scored the most headed goals in Europe. His style of play, whilst deemed un-Arsenal-like, was welcomed by fans as it offered a change in approach, a plan B so to speak.
His first few months were a real success. He provided a reliable head in front of goal and provided an alternative route to our attacking play.
Unfortunately, the Moroccan soon lost his touch in front of goal and his work-rate wasn’t enough to keep him in the good graces of the fans.
In contrast, Robin van Persie was beginning to find form and Chamakh was soon vilified for simply not being as good as the Dutchman.
As a result of his underwhelming performances, his Arsenal career ended in 2013 with his departure welcomed by the fans.
“[Competing with Robin van Persie] was something that I accepted and that I struggled to hide,” Chamakh told BeIN Sports. “I took advantage of his injury to get an experience in the English league. It went really well for the first 6 months, until Robin came back from injury.
“I didn’t really understand at the start what made him an indisputable starter. Then Boxing Day comes around, Arsène says to me that he wants to give me a rest and that he was going to bring Robin back into the fold little by little. He came in and all he would do was score goal after goal.
“From an objective standpoint, I couldn’t go to Arsène and say to him “I am the one who should play,” because Robin Van Persie was better than me in every department. What I wanted, was maybe to have a bit more playing time. That is maybe the only regret, to have not played alongside him more.”
Chamakh played for Arsenal for three years, between 2010 and 2013, before moving on to Crystal Palace after a brief loan with West Ham United. The striker scored 14 goals in 67 appearances for the Gunners.
Chamakh didn’t have much more success after that, eventually leaving Cardiff City in 2017 after just two appearances in a season with the then-Championship club. Speaking in France to beIN SPORTS, he admitted that after a couple of years away from football it was time to announce his retirement from playing for good.
“It’s been two years since I really cut ties with football,” Chamakh said. “I wanted to get closer to my family, and today I can say that I really retired from football. I did not plan to come back, either as a consultant or a coach, but I feel that it’s something I miss.”
Despite Chamakh planning not to return to football in any fashion, it appears the 35-year-old has now done a full U-turn and is preparing for a career in coaching.
“I will try to pass my coaching badges, I will do things little by little and seriously,” the former Gunner confirmed.
If Chamakh ends up going for a job in France, he’ll follow a number of former Gunners to have done the same thing recently.
Patrick Vieira is the head coach of OGC Nice, Thierry Henry was briefly in charge of AS Monaco and Sylvinho is taking over at Olympique Lyonnais.
Perhaps Chamakh will look to join them by returning to former club Bordeaux.