EXCLUSIVE: Chamakh always wanted Arsenal

New Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh has revealed that he was told not to join 'smaller clubs' including Tottenham Hotspur so that he could eventually seal a dream move to Emirates Stadium last month.

The 26-year-old first emerged as a target for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger 18 months ago, before attracting the interest of Spurs, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers, and West Ham.

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The Moroccan international was not afraid to voice his desire to leave Bordeaux for the Gunners last summer, only for Wenger and Les Girondins to fail to agree a fee for the striker's services.

Harry Redknapp was reportedly keen to recruit the frontman a year ago to bolster his forward line, with the Spurs supremo also linked with a move to bring Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to White Hart Lane.

But after listening to the advice of French legend and former coach Laurent Blanc, Chamakh decided to hold out for a move to Emirates Stadium so he could pursue his dream of playing for the Gunners.

"I only wanted to join Arsenal but they would not pay the price Bordeaux demanded," Chamakh said, speaking exclusively in the September issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out now.

"Blanc told me I shouldn't join a smaller club like Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn or West Ham. He really wanted me to join Arsenal but he wanted Arsenal to meet the asking price, which wasn't much because I was starting the last year of my contract.

"We weighed up the pros and cons and I decided to stay with the backing of my coach."

Chamakh and Blanc were both inspirational characters in the Bordeaux fairytale, as Les Girondins lifted their first Ligue 1 title for 10 years in 2009, with the French-born striker firing 13 goals in his role as the focal point of Blanc's attack.

"Blanc called me 'The Plank' because the team always looked to play off me," said Chamakh.

"I'm good at holding the ball up, getting flick-ons and getting on the end of free-kicks. I like to play with a second striker ideally, but I can play on my own as a target man."

By James Martini

The new issue of FourFourTwo magazine is in shops now, featuring interviews with Chamakh, Robert Pires, Javier Hernandez, Jack Rodwell and the bumper pre-season supplement previewing every team in the Premier League, Football League, Blue Square Premier and SPL.

EXCLUSIVE: Rodwell happy to stick with Toffees EXCLUSIVE: Pires still haunted by CL final substitution EXCLUSIVE: Hernandez on dream Man United move

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