Chamakh close to Arsenal switch

Marouane Chamakh is "counting the days" until he finally becomes an Arsenal player - and intends to prove he was worth the wait.

The Morocco international has been a long-term target for the Gunners, having almost moved to Emirates Stadium last summer.

However, Chamakh is now set to arrive on a free transfer, worth a reported £50,000-a-week, once his contact with Bordeaux expires.

The 26-year-old - who has 15 goals for the French club this season - will give Arsene Wenger some much-needed back-up in attack, an area of the pitch which was stretched by Robin van Persie's five-month injury absence this term.

"I count the days, 11 short days. As time passes, it feels weird. I feel many emotions," Chamakh told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"I am delighted to join the English football atmosphere, it is something amazing.

"I love Arsenal's game. I know I will have to adapt but I know the short passing game.

"In February, I made my decision. A departure clause (in a potential new Bordeaux contract) was not logical after refusing Arsenal last summer."

Chamakh had been with Bordeaux for a decade and helped them reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

"For my last matches with Bordeaux I can feel a lot of emotion, but I am leaving for a new challenge," he added.

"At Bordeaux I was the club's child. In London, I won't be a kid anymore. I have grown, I have things to prove and I am motivated to achieve it."

The forward maintained he had rejected several other offers - including north-London rivals Tottenham - to sign for the Gunners.

"There were approaches from Liverpool, Tottenham and offers of madness from Russia which were much greater than those from England, but I was focused on playing in the Premier League," said Chamakh.

"I took a risk to stay with one year left on my contract, but I never cheated, I gave myself thoroughly"

Should Manchester City and Spurs draw tonight, then Arsenal would be guaranteed third place, and with it automatic entry in the group stages of next season's Champions League.

Nevertheless, the Arsenal manager knows he faces a challenge to strengthen the squad in key areas over the summer.

Chamakh's arrival will take care of the attack, and may even lead to the departure of Eduardo, while Nice striker Loic Remy has made no secret of his desire to join the Gunners.

The goalkeeping position has come under scrutiny in recent weeks with Lukasz Fabianski, given a run in the side following Manuel Almunia's wrist problem, a target for Blackburn.

Manchester City keeper Joe Hart - who was a boy-hood Gunners fan - could interest Wenger if he departs Eastlands in the summer, while Italian veteran Gianlugi Buffon has indicated he would be open to a switch to England were the chance to arise.

In defence, meanwhile, Wenger has yet to resolve contract issues with William Gallas, Mikael Silvestre and Sol Campbell.

The Gunners boss accepts his squad does need one or two additions to help them stay the distance in the quest for a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup final.

Wenger, though, maintains pulling off another transfer coup like last summer's purchase of Belgian centre-half Thomas Vermaelen will be no easy task.

"It is not any more as it was 15 or 20 years ago - everybody knows everybody now," the Arsenal boss reflected.

"It is more about shrewd buying now in taking a gamble than in discovering somebody."

Wenger, meanwhile, could be ready to commit his own future to Arsenal.

The 60-year-old's current deal set to expire at the end of the 2010/2011 campaign, and, according to reports, he may agree terms on a two-year extension ahead of the World Cup.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf