Friday, 8 July 2011

Who is Gervinho?

With all the negative press surrounding Arsenal this week, month even, Arsenal fans would be forgiven for not being so forgiving when it comes to discussing matters relating to their team. Apparently no one wants to play for Arsenal, Arsenal are no longer a big club, Arsenal wont make the Champions League blah blah blah we’ve heard it all before. No doubt rival clubs are licking their lips at the implosion on the horizon for the North London club, but let’s look at the reasons to be optimistic.

Arsenal is indeed in the Champions League, and I believe have qualified for the last twelve seasons in row, Arsenal bookworms please confirm. They first name out the door is Gael Clichy. A good attacking full-back who is not so solid defensively, with a knack for detrimental lapses in concentration which have proven costly to Arsenal on many memorable occasions, leaving the Emirates (I wish Arsenal had given a more sentiomental name rather than selling the rights to an Airline company) than any of the more important names like a Robin Van Persie or a Theo Walcott.

Thomas Vermaelen is back, and he will indeed be like a “new signing”, and with the drama surrounding Samir Nasri, and his contract negotiations, Arsenal are not under any pressure to sell and I’m sure Wenger will go out of his way to convince him to stay. The only name most likely to follow not-so-much fans favourite Gael Clichy out the door is Cesc Fabregas. As soon as Barcelona stump up the fee and stop trying to “mug Arsenal off” the sooner he can pack his bags and watch all the Formula 1 he likes. Oh and be a member of the Barcelona squad, and be that all important “super-sub”. Anyhow, this isn’t about Fabregas, greedy football players or Arsenal hear say. This is about the new striker expected to hit these shores, and hopefully for Arsenal fans, not be tired after just five months!

Gervais Yao Kouassi, known commonly as Gervinho, is a 24 year old winger who has established himself as one of the top attackers in French football. He’s a member of the Lille side which won both the Ligue 1 title and the French Cup last season. He chipped in with 15 goals and 10 assist in Lille’s all conquering campaign.

Gervinho started his career with Belgian side KSK Beveren, a club known for developing Ivory Coast players, and were once Arsenal’s “feeder club” through a co-operations deal between the two clubs. His stats for the Jupiler League side were 14 goals in 61 appearances. He moved to France in the summer of 2007 joining Le Mans. He was an instrumental member of the side, and hit 14 goals in 67 appearances for MUC 72.

After two seasons at Le Mans, he joined ambitious side Lille. In his first season, he hit 13 goals in 32 appearances helping Les Dogues finish 4th and securing a Europa League spot. In the 2010/11 season, he joined as part of an attacking Lille front three consisting of Left Winger Eden Hazard, poacher Moussa Sow and Gervinho making up the right side of the three. He hit 15 goals and 10 assists, and helped Lille complete the domestic double.

He’s seen as an erratic player, with fantastic ability and a knack for making things happen. He has a ridiculous hairstyle, but who cares, that’s got absolutely nothing to do with Football. He is a pacey wide man, with flair and skill who is not afraid to take players on. He has great timing, and the ability to arrive late at the far post, and pop up with tap-ins when required.

He has been likened to Samuel Eto’o, as well as Robert Pires. Two contrasting players, but both Football icons in their own right. If Gervinho performs within an inch of their levels, he will be a valuable asset to Arsene Wenger.

Gervinho can play as part of a 4-3-3 formation, either on the left or the right. He likes to cut inside onto his stronger foot from the left, while he is just as suited to flying down the right flank. It’ll be interesting to see if he makes up an Arsenal front three, similar to Lille’s successful style last season, with say Walcott and Robin Van Persie. Their pace will cause all kinds of trouble for opposition defences.

One final note is that Arsenal fans have showed disappointment already at the nature of the signing, and the fact that negations and talks have taken so long. He has passed as medical, and the deal has been rumoured to be pushed back until Monday. First talk of this transfer came to the forefront about three weeks ago, and fans are becoming frustrated at the manner in which Arsenal are fixing the transfer. Although the fans, and very patient they are, know that Arsenal are renowned for taking their time over transfer deals, so maybe fans should cut them a little slack in that department.

As for the calibre of signing, Gervinho is a very good player and could be great for Arsenal. Fans need to get behind the 24 year old, as he is a player who is determined to join the Gunners and perform at the highest level, Arsenal fans should be excited. Gervinho didn’t necessarily need a transfer, he won two trophies last season, and Lille are guaranteed a spot to be competing in the Champions League next season. It’s a big opportunity for him and a good prospect for Arsenal (should all the formalities go through).

Gervinho is improving vastly, and Arsenal fans should look forward to prospect of a new striker setting up at the Emirates. This will probably lead the way for Bendtner and Vela’s exit from the club.

Here’s a YouTube video of some of his best bits

Real Talk Football


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  2. Very interesting article. Another up and coming star