I'm counting the days until I get to the Emirates, says Chamakh

Striker 'delighted' to be joining the Gunners, having rejected big-money move to Russia

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 the Emirates Stadium last summer.

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

The 26-year-old, who has scored 15 goals for the French club this season, will give the Arsenal manager, Arsène 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 has been with Bordeaux for a decade and helped them reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League this season.

"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 from Arsenal's north London rivals Tottenham, to sign for the Gunners.

"There were approaches from Liverpool, Tottenham and insane offers from Russia, which were much greater than those from England, but I was focused on 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."

Arsenal lie third in the Premier League table, which guarantees automatic entry in the group stages of next season's Champions League if they finish there on Sunday. 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 the Nice striker Loïc Rémy 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.

The Manchester City keeper Joe Hart, who was a boyhood Gunners fan, could interest Wenger if he departs Eastlands in the summer, while the 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, Mikaël Silvestre and Sol Campbell. The Gunners manager 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 the 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, [about] taking a gamble."

Wenger, meanwhile, could be ready to recommit himself to Arsenal. The 60-year-old's current deal is 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

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
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?