For a while now, Arsenal, and more importantly Arsene Wenger, have been reluctant in competing for players in the transfer market. As a result, Arsenal have fallen beyond the ranks and had to be satisfied with a 4th place finish, having won only three games since March. If Wenger and co. want to be challenging for trophies next season they're going to have to abandon the youth policy this Summer. I'm not saying they'll be spending particularly large and obnoxious amounts of money but one or two signings in or around the £20m mark would go a long way to securing their ambitions for competing at the top once more next season. According to reports, an Ivorian that goes by the name of Gervinho is "on the verge" of signing for the Gunners. But who exactly is Gervinho?
Well, Gervinho is a winger who plies his trade with Lille in France's Ligue 1. He moved to Les Dogues in 2009 following impressive displays for fellow Ligue 1 side Le Mans. During his first season at Lille, Gervinho scored 13 and assisted 4 goals in 32 games, in the process helping them qualify for UEFA's Europa League the following season. In his second season at the club, Gervinho helped a significant amount in securing Lille's first ever Ligue 1 and Coupe De France double netting 18 and assisting 10 times in their most successful ever campaign. Andrew Gibney of French Football Weekly gives you his view of Gervinho:
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.
However, Andrew goes on to tell us that there are some aspects of his game that need touching up on.
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.
But, along with Eden Hazard, success can come at a price. Take former Lille midfielder Yohan Cabaye for example. He's already been snapped up by Newcastle, for the modest fee of £4.3 million. And Gervinho is next on the list to leave the Stade Lille-Metropole. Eden Hazard is also being heavily linked with a move away from Lille. By the time the new season rolls around there will be a lack of strength in-depth for the champions, even with the additions of Dimitri Payet and Marko Basa.
Payet is an apt replacement for Arsenal-bound Gervinho, who can be described as "quick" and "blessed with terrific technique and dribbling skills". Payet had attracted interest from Liverpool and Chelsea in late 2010 from his shining performances for St. Etienne and even rejected a move to PSG in the January transfer window earlier this year.
Sources say that Gervinho is mightily close to joining the Gunners and if so, will become their first signing of the summer. Wenger will also need to find a replacement for captain Cesc Fabregas if Barcelona can finally get their hands on him after years of yearning for the La Masia graduate.
For one, I think if Arsenal can sign Gervinho, it'd be a great signing and he could partner Van Persie up-front, helping the team as well as banging them in from all angles. Us Premier League fans hopefully look forward to seeing him strut his stuff come August.