Arsenal Transfer News: Why Gervinho Isn't the Answer at the Emirates

James WillisAnalyst IJuly 18, 2011

SHANGHAI, CHINA - AUGUST 10:  Gervinho (R) of Ivory Coast celebrates their fourth goal in extra time during the Men's Group A match between Serbia and Ivory Coast on Day 2 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 10, 2008 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Photogamma/Getty Images)
Photogamma/Getty Images

The young Ivory Coast star, Gervinho, has finally been snapped up by Arsenal for a fee of around £10.5 million.

The fee is almost exactly the same as what the club had spent on Thierry Henry in 1999, and we all know how that signing turned out. With that said though, it's not accounting for inflation and so Henry actually had a far higher value.

Although the comparison of the two players values has no baring on how successful Gervinho will be at the Emirates, comparing Gervinho's stats to past patterns can give a good idea as to how well he will do.

It seems obvious that Arsenal are looking for someone to complement Robin Van Persie, and when need be replace him as well. But is Gervinho the right man for that job?

Nicklas Bendtner has had that chance to fill that role on more than one occasion but always fell just short with a slightly over-inflated egotistical mentality. Marouane Chamakh was signed last summer in the hope that he could fill that role, but despite a strong start, he gradually faded and also proved that he struggles to play alongside Van Persie.

There can be no doubting that Van Persie is the figurehead at the front of the Arsenal team, and understandably so, with many of the clubs fans pointing to him as potentially one of Europe's top attacking stars when without injury.

So, back to Gervinho and his past stats. Internationally, Gervinho has always left a mark on the international team, but never as a goal-scorer. Perhaps it's understandable given the fact that he plays alongside Didier Drogba, but there's no doubt Arsenal would have liked for him to have been slightly more successful at international level though.

Last season Gervinho played a key role in taking Lille to the French Ligue 1 title and also winning the Coupe de France.

Again though, his scoring ratio was less that one goal per two games which at club level really isn't particularly impressive.

Overall what can be gleaned from that is that he's not a goal-scorer. So just what does he do?

Gervinho is effectively a second striker (or winger). So his job is to push forward and provide any support needed to Van Persie; to act as a link between Arsenal's attacking midfielders and Robin Van Persie.

Andrei Arshavin was effectively brought in to do the same thing not that many years ago after having a phenomenal season both domestically and internationally. Despite him having some good times at Arsenal, most fans will be able to admit that he wasn't perhaps as successful as they would have wanted.

So what pitfalls will Gervinho have to look out for? He'll have to adapt to the Premier League very quickly for a start. Arsenal can't expect him to just take to the style of the league immediately.

Gervinho clearly has the ability it takes to succeed in his role at Arsenal, but will that ability fit Arsenal's immediate needs?

I use the word immediate because that is what Arsenal are ultimately looking for now. The youth that Wenger has been grooming are coming through now, the team hasn't spent much over the last few years and the club have slipped behind both Manchester United and Chelsea (and perhaps now even Manchester City) in the race for the title.

Arsenal will need an immediate change to push forward next season or risk being embroiled in a battle for fourth with Tottenham and Liverpool. If Arsenal don't get immediate results, and lose out in that battle, then it could have bad effects on their long term future.

Ultimately Gervinho will need to show immediate results at Arsenal to be a success but his still young mentality and the time he'll need to evolve to the Premier League could end up making him a Premier League flop.

That's just one opinion, though. It's all up to him now to prove his critics wrong.