Gunners finalise Gervinho signing
Arsenal have completed the signing of striker Gervinho from Lille for an undisclosed fee. The Gunners announced last week a deal had been agreed for the Côte d'Ivoire international and the paperwork has now been approved, with Gervinho penning a long-term contract.
The 24-year-old told www.arsenal.com: "It's a great feeling to be an Arsenal player. I'm very happy. I've always dreamed to play for this club. I've achieved this dream now and I am so happy. It's one of the most beautiful days of my life."
Gervinho cited Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as a key factor in his decision to move to London, adding: "I'm very happy to have the chance to work with Arsene Wenger. "When you are young, you always want to improve, to work with great managers - and Arsene Wenger is one of the best in the world," Gervinho told ArsenalPlayer.
"I think that with him, I will become a much better player, and he was very important in my choice to sign here. I came here because I believe that he can improve my game and help me reach another level, but the most important thing for me is that I bring a lot to the team for whom I am playing."
Gervinho accepts it make take a few weeks to adapt to the English top flight, but he is determined to be up to speed when the Gunners kick off their Premier League campaign at Newcastle on 13 August.
"I want to use my time here at Arsenal to develop my strengths," he said. "I know English football is harder and I might need a bit of time at the start, but ultimately it is down to me to raise my game and adapt. With the help of the team, I hope I can do that quickly. I will prepare well to be ready by the start."
The striker played a key role in Lille's Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double last season, scoring 18 goals in all competitions. That took his tally to 36 goals in 93 appearances during two seasons with the club, while he has been capped 27 times by the Côte d'Ivoire, scoring six times.
Like Premier League stars Kolo Toure, Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalou and Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue, Gervinho began his career with ASEC Mimosas in Abidjan. Wenger was attracted by his versatility, and told www.arsenal.com: "Gervinho is a player that can play in a number of positions up front. He can play on the right, on the left and through the middle.
"He has qualities that I find very important, like his movement off the ball. He has the qualities we like technically. He is good one against one, he is strong and was the best provider in the French league with assists and he scored 15 goals. I think he is a very good addition to the squad."
Gervinho will immediately join up with his new team-mates for pre-season training.