Date: 18th May 2010 at 6:02am
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Various news sources were reporting yesterday that Moroccan international Marouane Chamakh was in London yesterday to put the finishing touches to his contract with Arsenal.

The 26-year-old is joining on a free transfer after being out of contract, having rejected a renewal with former club Bordeaux, who apparently offered a better deal than us.

Club president Jean-Louis Triaud said: “Had he accepted our proposal, he could have improved his contract.

“I think he was surrounded and badly misguided. I did not appreciate at all how it went. As president, I resent it.

“Personally, I owe him all my affection. He is a lovely boy. He is a warrior and a fighter. He has not cheated.

“I wish him success at Arsenal. I will see him again with pleasure.

“I have great affection and gratitude for him. He brought a lot of things at the club. But I still don’t appreciate the way he left.”

Chamakh joining Arsenal has been the worst-kept secret in football, with manager Arsène Wenger having failed in a previous transfer bid last summer, refusing to increase his offer price of €7 million for a player he could get for free, and looks like he now has.

The 26-year-old has been a regular source of goals in the French top flight over recent years and has often expressed a desire to test himself at a higher level.

Speaking last week to a French magazine, Chamakh said: “I am delighted to join the English football atmosphere, it is something amazing.

“I love Arsenal’s game. I know I will have to adapt but I know the short passing game with (Bordeaux midfielder) Yoann Gourcuff.

“In February, I made my decision. A departure clause (in a potential new Bordeaux contract) was not logical after refusing Arsenal last summer.

“Arsenal were not alone. There were Liverpool, Tottenham and crazy offers from Russia.

“But I was only focused on the Premier League.

“I am leaving for a new challenge. At Bordeaux I was the club’s child. In London, I won’t be a kid anymore.

“I have grown, I have things to prove and I am motivated to achieve it.”

Wenger also admitted last week that the Moroccan could be the club’s first signing of the summer, saying only the formalities of a contract and a medical were outstanding.

Wenger added: “We have to finalise some papers and some of the medical. It’s not done yet, but it is very close.”