Marouane Chamakh: Arsenal flop given chance to shine by rehabilitating Allardyce

West Ham have been particularly active in the early days of the January transfer window, first signing Joe Cole from Liverpool on an 18 month deal, before heading across the capital to take Marouane Chamakh on loan from Arsenal.

Chamakh has been largely disappointing since joining the Gunners from Bordeaux back in 2010 and a record of just 10 goals from 67 appearances over the past two years and a half has restricted the Moroccan to a reserve role, and the tag of yet another failed Arsene Wenger acquisition to bombard the French manager with accusation of lack in ambition.

The 28 year old Moroccan moved to London for free after hitting 76 goals over an eight year period in France, 36 of them coming between 2008 and 2010. Here was a striker in form and with Champions League experience, for free, but it is indicative of the frustration surrounding the Emirates that a seemingly irresistible piece of business has become surplus to requirements just 30 months later.

Despite his poor impact in England so far, there is an understandable suspicion that Sam Allardyce has acted shrewdly in gaining a striker with a clear point to prove and can fit the Hammers’ style perfectly with a consummate heading ability. Ricardo Vaz Te is struggling for form, Andy Carroll is out injured and Modibo Maiga is heading to the African Nations Cup with Mali, so Chamakh will patch up a light forward line with the inviting incentive of proving that not all is lost as regards to his ageing talent that had been subject of ridicule at Arsenal.

The situation mirrors that of Andy Carroll who was enjoying, whilst not scoring, a bit of a renaissance at Upton Park before suffering injury. Although there is a severe difference in the size of original fee, Carroll, like Chamakh at Arsenal, struggled badly at Liverpool and found the safety net of newly-promoted West Ham waiting with less expectation, less pressure, a spotlight far less intense in which to play his way back into form.

Joe Cole, who has seen his talent decline so much that he has been abandoned by Liverpool after becoming somewhat of a forgotten man at Anfield, has also been given a similar chance under a refusal to accept talent can simply disappear; form is temporary, class is permanent as the old cliché goes and West Ham appear to believers that players can rediscover their qualities in East London.

For Cole, he is returning to the place where the prophecies of technical brilliance all began before various injuries betrayed his potential, he, at the ripe age of 31, will be driven by the opportunity to return to something resembling his best of a time that seems so long ago.

In Carroll and Chamakh however, there is a different logic behind the generosity. Sam Allardyce is a pragmatist, devoted to an unwillingness to compromise on a style that, although not particularly impressive aesthetically, ensures the abilities of his squad are maximised to full effect.

The signing of Carroll was designed for him to wear down defenders physically and to knock balls down for his old mate Kevin Nolan, while Chamakh, with his prowess in the air not exactly being utilised at Arsenal, can do the same, as well as getting on end of crosses from Matt Jarvis, Mark Noble or even Cole.

What has not suited the philosophy of Brendan Rodgers or Arsene Wenger at Liverpool and Arsenal respectively, could suit Sam Allardcye in what is clever, astute management; using players that are ready-made to suit the system.

In the mould of player West Ham are now attracting, of those charged by a point to prove, Allardyce himself is familiar with that mentality after his harsh sacking at Blackburn and his failed stint at Newcastle. The ex-Bolton boss has guided the Hammers to a respectable eleventh place at the midway point of the Premier League season with a team assembled with experience and players that fit and accept the Allardyce work-ethic.

Chamakh is now a part of it and he needs little motivation to show that he has been prematurely and unfairly written off as a Premier League force.


Written by Adam Gray

Follow him on Twitter @AdamGray1250

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