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Premier League

Chamakh rolls into town to finalise Arsenal transfer

The Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh beat the flight disruption caused by the cloud of volcanic ash by arriving in London on the Eurostar to meet Arsenal for talks over his free transfer yesterday.

The highly-rated 26-year-old is available after seeing out his contract with Bordeaux, for whom he scored 15 goals in 45 appearances last season. His move to the Emirates has been an open secret for several weeks, and Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is understood to be eager to seal the deal as swiftly as possible, having waited 12 months to land his man.

Wenger tried to sign Chamakh last summer but Arsenal's bid was rejected by Bordeaux. Instead of paying an inflated transfer fee, Wenger opted to wait until the summer to sign the striker for free. Chamakh admitted earlier this month he had spoken with representatives from Arsenal in February about a possible move before rejecting a new deal with Bordeaux.

Chamakh recently spoke of his desire to move to north London. He said: "Arsenal are a great club. I have loved them for a long time; I will realise my dream. Arsenal's game will fit me well. I have liked the Premier League since I was little. I hope I fit in as well as I have at Bordeaux and, who knows, maybe one day I will return."

The arrival of Chamakh has been widely anticipated by the Arsenal squad. Bacary Sagna, the Arsenal right back, recently said: "I know him. I played against him. He is top class. He is very good in the air and he scores a lot of goals from crosses. He keeps the ball very well and it will only benefit us to have a player like him in the team.

"Marouane will make us stronger and I think he will be suited to English football. He likes contact, he likes to fight and he's not scared; that's the most important thing here. He is good in the air, but technically good, too. He is a hard worker and the fans will appreciate him."

Robin van Persie also welcomed the new arrival, saying: "I don't know Chamakh personally but I know him from TV. He looks a good player. He is strong in the air and scores lots of goals with his head.

"He looks confident on the ball so hopefully the transfer goes through. It is good for all of us to have competition and that's why I am happy to see him coming."