“Don’t be fooled by the calendar.  There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.”  ~Charles Richards

Transfer negotiators at Arsenal take note. Most summers at the Emirates are spent embroiled in the latest drawn out transfer saga. More often than not it involves Cesc Fabergas, the “will he won’t he” drama that fills most windows has at least been complimented this Summer with the potential purchase of Ivory Coast winger Gervinho from French champions Lille.

Arsenal have been admirers of both Gervinho and his team-mate Eden Hazard for a few years now. Arsene Wenger had the chance to sign the winger from Le Mans back in 2009 but he ended up joining his former Le Mans manager Rudi Garcia at Lille and his game has gone from strength to strength. Now it looks like Wenger will make Gervinho one of his big summer signings for their assault on next season’s title challenge.

Weeks before Lille sealed their first title in 57 years, Gervinho made it known that there was a good chance he would leave the Stade Lille Metropole but only for Champions League football.

“I am trying my best to concentrate on the final push for the league,” he told skysports.com. “We want to win the championship. Also, we are in the cup final.

“At the end of the season, me and my advisors will speak to the club and see what to do but if I am leaving a club which will play in the Champions League, I will only go to one who is in the Champions League.

“It’s the best competition and I want to be a part of that set-up every year.”

Manchester City and Arsenal were put on notice but it didn’t deter Newcastle United and Liverpool from showing an interest and it didn’t stop Lille fans from holding out hope that he may sign an extension and stay for at least another twelve months.

After the season ended Gervinho travelled with his national team for an African Nations qualifier against Benin, he had hinted that once the game was over and he had returned to France he would decide his future.

The player then made it known that England would be his preferred destination and Arsenal his preferred club. Lille General Manager Frederic Paquet made it clear of Gervinho’s desired destination while talking to RMC Radio.

“He actually wants to go,” Paquet admitted to RMC.

“We have developed contacts with Arsenal. We will soon discuss with them to see what they want.

“He expressed his desire to leave for England so we’ll see what will happen.

“Gervinho chose to leave for England, so that limits the scope of the situation.

“We will meet soon with Arsenal, see what they offer – but he is a player of value.”

That quote was taken on the 18th of June and now a week later there doesn’t seem to have been much movement. Gervinho has only one year left on his contract so in twelve months he will be free to leave without a fee. The potential stumbling block will be how much Arsenal will be willing to pay and what compromise Lille will take. With Ashley Young moving to Manchester United for £20m in similar circumstances the Lille board will be hoping to land a good deal. They themselves are negotiating with St-Etienne to make the exciting Dmitri Payet their new winger.

There is little doubt the move will go through, both clubs and the player want it to happen, it will only be a matter of time before Gervinho is revealed as an Arsenal player. Now what will he bring to this Arsenal side?

He is exceptionally quick, and he combines that well with great upper body strength. That gives him a great base to take on defenders and he usually succeeds in beating his man. During his time at Lille his finishing has improved, with 15 goals and 10 assists this season he is a very dangerous player once inside the box. With the ability to find a team-mate or provide the finish he was one the main reasons Lille finished top of Ligue 1 this year.

Not only does his pace give him the ability to take on players but he also has the intelligence to use it to run in-behind defences and latch onto any passes played through the middle. In Lille’s fluid 4-3-3 system the winger was allowed to drift inside and find the space created by the movement of Moussa Sow and Eden Hazard. This is an ability that would be ideal in the current Arsenal system, the movement of Robin van Persie could benefit the runs of Gervinho and in Nasri and Fabregas they have the players to find his well-timed runs.

Not everything in 24-year olds game isn’t complete. His style is still very raw, when he is running with the ball he doesn’t always look in control “Bambi on Ice” is a phrase that has been used to describe his running technique. At times his passing can also leave a lot to be desired, not the actually quality of the pass but the timing of the delivery.

The prime example of this was during the Coupe de France final, Gervinho broke down the left and with Hazard racing through on the inside, a well-timed pass would have put the little Belgian through on goal but Gervinho’s pass was poor and the chance was lost. There is still time for him to improve this though and there isn’t a better place than Arsenal to improve your passing.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind the quality Gervinho possesses and at Arsenal he could improve even further. Under Wenger’s guidance he could become the player that everyone believed Theo Walcott had the potential to be. No doubt Lille will be losing one of their most influential players…now just let it happen so they can go and buy a replacement already!!!

This post was originally published on French Football Weekly

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7 comments

chisulo

June 25th, 2011

will c abt tht..

June 25th, 2011

Interesting. Sounds a lot like Arshavin before his arrival at the Emirates, only for him to have turned out much like Walcott too.

It’s a gamble for Wenger, and certainly not a priority position to strengthen, but coming off a championship winning season in France it could be worthwhile.

Andrew

June 25th, 2011

Will see about what Chris?

June 26th, 2011

Wenger sining gelvinho

baljit

June 26th, 2011

definitely must be better than chamakh…

June 26th, 2011

good signing

June 27th, 2011

Mr. Wenger, the Manager of Arsenal FC is like a shy and stingy man interested a ravishingly beautiful girl. He winks at her and the girl returns some semi-explicit come-and-get-me signs but Mr. Wenger is either too stingy to ask her out for dinner and (or) too shy to propose. Meanwhile, a bold admirer – (er, say Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho) upon picking interest in the same girl, swiftly takes her out for dinner (injects some cash), proposes to, and marries off the girl. With the girl off the shelf, Mr. Wenger emerges from the woods and declares that he knew and liked her before. The man has for instance claimed that he had spotted Christiano Ronaldo before the Portuguese wing-wizard signed for Man Utd. It has been the same story with several players who have signed for other clubs with faster Managers. With continental and Premier League suitors lurking, Mr. Wenger remains too “impotent” to snare any of Gervinho, Chris Samba, Gary Cahill, Juan Mata and Ricky Alvarez.

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