PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 15: Gervinho of Ivory Coast is closed down by Bruno Alves of Portugal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group G match between Ivory Coast and Portugal at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on June 15, 2010 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Ivory Coast international and former Lille striker Gervinho has joined Arsenal, according to the club's official website:
Arsenal Football Club announces that Ivory Coast international forward Gervinho will shortly join the Gunners, subject to a regulatory process.
It was a long-rumored deal, one with just about enough repeatedly dogged positive assertions of fact to be believable, and now it is a done deal (except for that "regulatory process").
Gervinho is a fast goalscorer, which wouldn't seem to be an area where Arsenal really struggle at first glance. However, this is because Theo Walcott usually provides the pace threat for the Gunners front line. As BackwardsGooner notes on twitter:
Can Gervinho play on the left? At this stage I see him more as competition for Walcott in the pacey goalscorer role.
Which is good, as he points out, because "Walcott always misses a few months every season, and without him we lack pace in attack". Indeed, having two pacey threats who can play together or fill in for one another will help Arsenal maintain their dynamicism when required, although as more teams play deep against Arsenal, it becomes difficult for speed to do much sometimes.
Nevertheless, Gervinho, 24, scored 15 goals in 40 matches last year for Lille, who won the French double last season. He also has 27 caps for Côte d'Ivoire.
Gervinho marks Arsenal's second signing of the summer, after defender Carl Jenkinson.