Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway wants to 'love up' former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh after Emirates nightmare
IAN Holloway believes he can resurrect Marouane Chamakh’s career after a nightmare spell with Arsenal.
Chamakh joined the Eagles at the weekend on a free transfer after struggling to make much of an impact during a three-year spell with the north London giants.
The Moroccan international has signed an initial one-year contract at Selhurst Park, with the option of an extension if the Eagles are able to stave off relegation this season.
And Palace boss Holloway says he has a history of getting the best out of players who have struggled elsewhere, telling the media after Saturday’s friendly defeat to Lazio he wants to “love up” his new striker.
The SE25 chief said: “Marouane Chamakh has just managed to sign, so hopefully that is the first of many.
“He’s signed for longer than this season as long as we stay up.
“The work that went into the deal to make it not a loan so that we can still take two other loans was incredible and the chairman was fantastic.
“He has moved hell and high water to make it happen and we have got a chance to move on now.
“It’s about the lads buying into it and getting on with it and that is what’s important for us - to buy people who can come in and do this like Chamakkh - and the quicker we can add to that, the better.”
The manager added: “It’s a massive thing for me to get him in as I can now build the team around him, because he is a fantastic player who can drift and float and he’s good in the air, so I have got to build a squad around that now and hopefully I can get him going.
“I usually do alright with people whose career is faltering a little bit. “I’ll love him up, work with him and hopefully I can get him playing the way he did when he first went to Arsenal.
“There was nothing wrong with him then when he scored eight in nine, but I wouldn’t fancy being Van Persie’s understudy because it couldn't have been fun.”
Play-off hero Kevin Phillips also heralded the arrival of Chamakh and challenged him to prove his doubters wrong by scoring the goals to keep Palace up this season.
The veteran striker said: “Sometimes when players go to clubs it just isn't the right club for them.
“I’ve seen him play several times live and he was very good, but sometimes you can go a bit stale when you don't get your opportunity and then perhaps you don’t work as hard and you need a fresh challenge.
“That is what he will get here and he will be playing regularly again.
“We hope that he brings goals to the team because we are going to need those to survive in the Premier League.
“He certainly has the quality and now it is time for him to stand up, step up and show us and the fans what he is made of."
Holloway has been openly critical of the state of this summer's transfer market, describing it as a “meat market full of chancers, parasites and hangers-on”.
He explained: “Agreeing deals has been extremely difficult.
“Because we are the favourites to go down, players do not particularly want to come.
“I thought we were doing three deals two weeks ago but they all fell through for different reasons.
“I couldn’t have worked any harder, I’ve been up until midnight most nights working on deals.
“But it is my job to talk to them and convince them to come and join us and make them believe we are a good club and are going places and Marouane’s one of the first ones to do that now.
“Now hopefully we have got this deal over the line, we can encourage some more to come and help this group because at the moment I think they are running on empty and they need new people to come in.”
When asked how many more signings are required in the next three weeks, he replied: “Probably four or five more to be honest.
“I think that is what we need so let's get on with it.”
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