Pro and Cons of Gervinho’s Move to AS Roma
In his youthful days at the ASEC Abidjan academy, his Brazilian youth coach derived a nickname from one of his most talented footballers, Gervais Yao Kouassi, and the name “Gervinho” came into fruition.
The winger got his big break in Beveren of Belgium before Le Mans snapped him up for a meager sum of £575,000. Two seasons, 59 games and nine league goals after, LOSC Lille Metropole came knocking on Le Mans’ door and he was sold for £5.75m. He dazzled the Lille faithful in his first season with 13 league goals in 32 appearances and went even better in his second season with 15 goals in 35 appearances which inspired Lille to a French League and Cup double.
This performances didn’t go unnoticed and in the summer of 2011 amid the Samir Nasri transfer speculation, Arsenal delved into the market to purchase Gervinho for £11m. Despite offering the fans a sense of renewed optimism with his arrival, Gervinho didn’t have the best of debuts as a bust-up with that brawler, Joey Barton, earned him an early bath. While he was instrumental in Arsenal’s two-legged Champions League playoff win over Udinese, Gervinho served a three-match ban that saw his team lose to Liverpool as well as a horrendous mauling in the hands of Manchester United.
From that moment on, it’s fair to say that Gervinho has had a hot and cold career at the Emirates. There have been game where he wowed the crowd and there were others where the fans wanted his big forehead on a friggin’ plate,
In 63 matches for Arsenal over the course of two seasons, Gervinho scored 11 goals for the club with four scored in his debut campaign and seven more scored last season. After enduring a somewhat disappointing campaign that saw him feature sparingly for the Gunners, the Ivorian winger as successfully negotiated a deal with AS Roma, which also gave him a chance to have a reunion with his former boss, Rudi Garcia.
This has brought some mixed reactions among the Arsenal faithful with many fans and without further ado, here are the pros and cons of Gervinho’s move to AS Roma.
Gervinho’s Lack of Ideas in the Final Third
His fleet-footed nature, decent amount of pace, good dribbling skills and unpredictable style of play made Gervinho a rather difficult player to come up against but he had one major flaw – Gervinho’s decision making in the final third was very appalling to say the least. There were times when so many promising attacks were built from Gervinho’s wing only to end up as another dose of frustration from the Arsenal faithful.
With Gervinho going to AS Roma, we have one less inconsistent player to worry about.
Unavailability Due to African Cup of Nations
In Gervinho’s two seasons with Arsenal, his nation, Ivory Coast, an African superpower, always qualified for the continent’s premier tournament and he always departed in the winter to join the likes of the Toure brothers, Salomon Kalou, Cheick Tiote and the scourge of Arsenal, Didier Drogba.
In the 2012 AFCON, Ivory Coast had an amazing run of games that saw them go to the final of the tournament without conceding any goal only for Gervinho to dissipate their hopes of their first African title since 1992 when he blasted his penalty kick wide, allowing underdogs Zambia to win the tournament.
On his return to Arsenal, Gervinho looked like a player fighting his own personal demons and his performances were very poor to say the least.
Last season, Gervinho departed again for another AFCON but Ivory Coast were ousted by eventual winners, Nigeria.
Leaving a club at the midway point of a season for a compulsory international tournament is a bitter pill to swallow and Arsenal went as far as bringing club legend, Thierry Henry, on loan as cover for Gervinho.
With Gervinho gone, Arsenal won’t have any worries about any of its personnel departing at the midway point to represent his nation in a tourney.
Increase’s Arsenal’s Chances of Signing a New Winger
Like Gervinho, Arsenal has other players that ply their trades in the wing positions. Theo Walcott is predominantly the alpha-dog in the right wing position but form and fitness played a role in Lukas Podolski losing his left wing slot to Santi Cazorla, that moved to the flanks to accommodate either Jack Wilshere or Tomas Rosicky. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also provided some cover in this position as well as central midfield.
With Gervinho gone, Arsenal would be very light on the wing positions (as he was talented enough to play in both wings and even as a make-shift center forward) but his departure can pave the way for the Gunners to sign a new winger. There’s so much buzz surrounding Luis Suarez at the moment and he will be ideal for the Gunners because he can play as a winger or a center forward.
He Provided Adequate Cover
When Gervinho was at Arsenal, he was a regular starter on the left wing in the 2011/12 campaign. With the 2012 AFCON ongoing, he had to travel to Gabon with his nation but on his return, he lost his place to Thierry Henry, Yossi Benayoun and the Ox. He still managed to notch up 37 appearances with four goals to his name.
Last season, the arrival of Lukas Podolski further diminished his chances, and there was also a point when Santi Cazorla became Arsenal’s left winger on the tail end of the campaign. However, Gervinho was readily available and there was a period he got a run-out on the right wing when Walcott suffered an injury.
With Gervinho gone, if Arsenal doesn’t sign a better replacement, there will be problems as you would not expect the present lot at the wings to stay fit throughout the entire campaign. There will be games were they would need to be rested.
He Contributed to Arsenal’s Attack
Following a rather uninspiring debut against Newcastle, Gervinho came to the party when he provided an assist for Robin van Persie in the qualifying fixture against Udinese. He opened his goalscoring account in that mysterious 4-3 loss to Blackburn where the Gunners managed to score five goals (two own goals as well) but still ended up losing the game. His second goal and arguably his best performance in his debut season came against Stoke where he scored the first and supplied two assists for RVP.
After scoring two more goals against Wigan and Wolves, he departed for the 2012 AFCON and his goal count dried faster than the wells in the Kalahari Desert.
At the start of last season with Olivier Giroud firing blanks, Arsene Wenger deployed Gervinho as a make-shift center forward and that faith was swiftly repaid with the Ivorian attacker scoring five goals in quick succession against Montpellier, Chelsea, Olympiakos and a brace against Southampton. This run of goals made Gervinho Arsenal’s top scorer at that point in time.
Then of course, there was the match clincher against Swansea, the 5-star performance against Reading and that lovely assist to Tomas Rosicky against West Brom.
Despite his overwhelming inconsistencies, there were games when Gervinho contributed to Arsenal’s attack but those chances were few and far between.
With Gervinho joining the club for £11m in the summer of 2011, he seemed to be a good signing at the start of his Arsenal career but that penalty miss for his nation in the winter of 2012 shattered his confidence to bits and this really affected his performances, causing his manager to take a drastic step by removing him from the starting XI.
Things got even worse in his second season and those confidence issues surfaced yet again with more appalling performances in the games he played. I’m very sure that Arsenal fans would never forget his legendary miss against Bradford in the Capital One Cup last season.
With AS Roma paying £7m for his services, Arsenal were more than willing to cut their losses with the winger and he’s about to embark on a new adventure with his former boss in the capital of Italy.
Goodbye Gervinho, you won’t be missed.
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