Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh has revealed his joy at committing his future to the club.
The 30-year-old ended speculation surrounding his future by signing a two-year contract with the Eagles last Friday, before jetting straight off to join his teammates in Austria.
Speaking to cpfc.co.uk at the club’s training base in Graz for the first time since penning his new deal, the Moroccan said: “I’m really happy because I really wanted to stay with Crystal Palace and with the group I played with last season.
“I enjoyed myself more last season than I have for a long time because I feel good around the players and the new staff. I am so happy to continue being a part of that group. I really wanted that.”
The former Bordeaux and Arsenal striker confirmed that he turned down a number of overtures from elsewhere in order to prolong his stay with Palace, whom he joined from Arsenal on a one-year deal last summer.
Chamakh said: “I had many other offers, including three or four from other teams in England, but I really wanted to stay with Crystal Palace.
“I said before, my first choice was always to stay here, that’s why I was waiting to sign for the club.
“I could have signed for another team months ago, but I did not want that because I’m really happy here. I really like the atmosphere around the place and I enjoy working with the players.
“We had a good season last year and we will do everything we can to do the same again this season for everybody – for us and for the fans.”
And Chamakh believes the squad’s relentless fitness work in Austria could prove pivotal in their quest to replicate that 11th placed Barclays Premier League finish of 2013/14.
He added: “This week will help us. We’ve worked really, really hard – I’ve never worked like this before in my life! I’ve been a professional for 12 years and I’ve never worked like this!”