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Marouane Chamakh: Whatever happened to Arsenal striker flop?

23:29 GMT+3 07/08/2019
Marouane Chamakh Arsenal Premier League
The Moroccan's star briefly shone at the Emirates Stadium but after dropping out of the team he quickly found himself sliding towards obscurity

For a three-year spell stretching from 2008 until 2011, Marouane Chamakh was a forward to be granted respect. 

He may not have been the most graceful of strikers, but at Bordeaux and, initially, at Arsenal, he proved a handful for defences with his aerial prowess, strength and eye for goal. 

In the 2008-09 season, he scored 13 goals as Bordeaux ended Lyon’s seven-year stretch as Ligue 1 champions, playing a vital role of finishing off the opportunities created by more elegant team-mates such as Yoann Gourcuff and Benoit Tremoulinas. 

While he was not quite at that level a year later, he still mustered 10 goals as he played every match in Le Championnat. Instead, he saved his best for the Champions League, where Bordeaux made an unlikely run to the quarter-finals, having won a group that contained both Juventus and Bayern Munich by dropping just two points. 

A move to Arsenal on a free transfer followed and the early signs were promising. On his Premier League debut against Liverpool, his header created an own goal from Pepe Reina in a 1-1 draw. Over the course of the season, he managed a respectable seven goals but his ailing form and the Gunners' policy of playing one up front saw him drop out of favour with Arsene Wenger. 

He would never recover his form, despite threatening a renaissance while at Crystal Palace in the 2013-14 season. His five goals were enough to earn him another two-year deal, but his slide towards obscurity was interminable and only continued to the following year at Cardiff, where he featured only twice. 

At 33, these would prove to be his last matches as a footballer, though his retirement was only made official when he appeared, sporting a new man-bun, on beIN Sports show ‘L’Expresso’. 

“It’s been two years since I made my cut away from football, it was what I wanted,” the 65-time capped Morocco star said. “I wanted to get closer to my family. Today, I can say that I have really retired from the game.” 

While Chamakh has an interest in politics and has even dabbled in it a touch in the past, he hopes one day to return to the game that brought him such dizzying highs, albeit in a very different capacity. 

“I didn’t plan to return to football, either as a pundit or a coach, but I feel that it’s something I miss,” he confessed. “So I’ll try to comeback. I want to pass my coaching diplomas. I want to take things step by step and do things seriously.” 

Since then, he has suggested that he could take up a role in the Moroccan FA. 

“Yes, of course,” he replied when asked about the possibility. “What’s more, I live in Marrakech a part of the time. If they call me, I’ll be there for them. It would be a pleasure to give them my experience, what I’ve learned and been through, to help youngsters or future coaches learn from my experience.” 

After a couple of years out of the media spotlight, it may just be time for Chamakh to return.