While the Robin van Persie saga continues to rumble on, another striker skulking beneath the Dutchman’s long shadow is also being linked with a move abroad.
Marouane Chamakh’s sorry two seasons with Arsenal has seen him linked with a transfer to Italy’s Fiorentina, in what would seem like a desperate escape for the Moroccan striker.
Coming the other way, the latest player to be linked to Arsenal (making a refreshing change from those linked with exits) is Barcelona’s injured David Villa. A player who is not only one the world’s greatest finishers, but a superb link-up artist used to playing as a lone striker surrounded by creative midfielders.
Truth be told, Villa joining Arsenal is not the most likely signing you’ll ever see. Would he be joining the ‘sinking ship’ with less of a pay packet than he got with the Spanish champions? Or would he prefer a trip to Italy, or Qatar, or the newly monied Brazilian league?
Nevertheless, the idea of Villa playing gets many fans of Arsenal rumours salivating, and not just because of his goal-scoring pedigree. It’s that ability to hold his line up front, and bring others into play that is important within Arsenal’s current system.
I put it to you that even if Chamakh had his confidence back in front of goal, he would still be a square peg in a round hole. The closest player in style to him is new arrival Olivier Giroud, but the Frenchman possesses a better touch, better physique, and confidence gained from Montpellier’s title-run last season.
With Giroud’s bigger build, he could perform a better role as a lone-striker than Chamakh ever could. The Moroccan’s best games for Bordeaux came as a partnered striker in a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1, and I believe Giroud will adapt to the Arsenal role much better than Chamakh.
I find some fans slating of Chamakh as ‘useless’ a bit unsavoury. I have no real problem with the player and he certainly put more effort in than the begrudgingly more talented Adebayor. Note how often he could be found scrambling to get corners clear in defence, or hassling a player out on the wing.
Sadly, this meant he was never found where he should have been positioned, and the obvious inhibitions he held when within a 500 metre radius of RVP meant we didn’t even see a shade of the player he could have been.
With van Persie’s near-inevitable departure, you can expect the strikers role to be rotated a fair bit between Giroud, Podolski and one other striker. Is that striker Chamakh? Will more games help him find added confidence and actually adapt to the role required of him?
Suddenly even replacing RVP with a new signing does not seem like enough.