On 20 December 2008, El-Arabi made his debut for Caen , coming on as a substitute in the 76th minute against Lyon in Ligue 1. He played 2 more games that season (coming on in both as a substitute), and scored no goals (2008–09). The following season (2009–10) saw El-Arabi score 11 goals in 34 games (he came on in 11 of these games as a substitute) for Caen , as well as claiming eight assists, in Ligue 2. This season (2010–11) has seen El-Arabi score 17 goals in 38 games for Caen , as well as claiming five assists, in Ligue 1. After rejecting bids from Sevilla FC and Genoa , he eventually signed for Al-Hilal FC in July 2011 on a four-year contract.