After their 2-1 loss in the Emirates Cup, Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, announced that both Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh would leave the club as Arsenal continue their summer clear out. Gervinho will be moving on to Italian side Roma and Chamakh will be moving on to newly promoted Crystal Palace. Palace have had difficulty signing players so far this summer which they will need to do if they are to stay in the Premier League next season. Ian Holloway has said that “The chairman is learning, I am finding out how even more difficult it is compared to last time because of the zillions of extra quid that everybody’s got,” and while Palace do get the financial benefits that come with being in the Premier League, including the new TV deal, Palace have had a tough time this summer. Many will question, why do Palace even want Chamakh who is widely considered to have been a flop at Arsenal after signing on a free from Bordeaux in the summer of 2010.
Chamakh will have to compete with current Palace strikers Glenn Murray and Kevin Phillips. The 29 year old Murray struck an impressive 30 goals last year for Palace to help them get promotion. Phillips signed for Palace on loan from Blackpool on the last day of the January transfer window and has made his stay permanent this summer signing a one year deal. Phillips, who converted the penalty that got Palace into the Premier League, will play the entire season at age 40. Phillips has essentially been a yoyo player being promoted and relegated many times in his long career. Murray, on the other hand, will have his first ever taste of Premier League football this year.
Chamakh has not played major minutes at Arsenal since his debut season in 2010-2011 when he made 18 Premier League starts and 11 substitute appearances. In his last two seasons, he has only made one Premier League start and 10 substitute appearances for Arsenal along with two starts and one substitute appearance on loan at West Ham last season. Chamakh’s first season with the Gunners actually went reasonably well with seven goals and six assists in the Premier League and 11 goals eight assists in all competitions. Chamakh came in while Robin Van Persie was injured early on in the 2010-2011 season had a 17% chance conversion rate, 24% clear cut chance conversion rate and created 40 chances in that first season and looked like he could be a decent signing but after that he just did not get playing time. In his second season, with his limited playing time Chamakh was only able to bag one goal and his conversion rate slightly dropped to 14%.
This season after failing to move him on last summer, Wenger only used Chamakh in Capital One Cup games where he scored two goals in the incredible 7-5 game vs Reading and also missed his penalty in Arsenal’s humiliating loss to Bradford City. Once the January transfer window came around, Arsenal offloaded Chamakh to West Ham on loan for the rest of the season where he played sparingly and most of the time failed to even make the bench. It’s safe to say Chamakh’s time at Arsenal was not a huge success.
Ian Holloway will hope that the signing of Chamakh is a precursor for bigger things to come for Palace this window. Palace are going to need a lot to stay up this year after just coming up. They will hope that Chamakh is a quality signing for them which he could be if he can replicate or improve the form he showed in his first season at Arsenal. All that said, if Chamakh is Palace’s biggest addition this summer they will have a very tough time staying up this year.