We have finally confirmed the signing of Gervinho! Sort of.
Even after the endless delays, of rain checks and paperwork mix-ups, we still have to complete a “regulatory process” before we can officially call Gervinho an Arsenal player. But at least the club are telling us that much, instead of keeping us completely in the dark, still waiting for any news at all.
From what I’ve seen and heard, Gervinho seems like a handy player. He’s confident too; he announced that he’d be coming to play, not sit on the bench, and competition in the front line won’t hurt at all. I think he has the right ingredients to succeed here, he has pace, strength and of course unquestionable ability. Let’s just see if he has that all-important mental strength…
It seems like he’ll play either side of Robin van Persie – it seems unlikely that we’ll change formation to 4-4-2, so Gervinho will most likely play in the wide forward roles. We have Nasri, Walcott and Arshavin for those roles too, so hopefully we’ll be rotating those three and our new signing week in, week out. That way we keep everyone fairly fresh, and keep our opponents guessing. United did that with Valencia, Nani, Park and Giggs, and it worked really well, so hopefully it’ll work well for us too, if that’s how we decide to go.
It’ll be really interesting to see how he does and how he settles in at the Emirates. I’m sure everyone will make him feel welcome off the pitch, so no problems there – what will be the focus is, of course, how he does on the pitch. Marouane Chamakh took to the Premier League like a duck to water, and other players in the past have also made the transition from Ligue 1 to the Premier League look easy, so we’ll have to see how Gervinho fares. I hope he’ll be an instant hit, as we simply must hit the ground running, but at this point it’s almost impossible to tell.
There’s a little more news on the Arsenal front as well, involving Cesc and Nasri. Arsene says he expects both to stay, which is encouraging, although when you think about it, he’s not going to say much else. One scenario that hasn’t been explored much in terms of Nasri is one in which nothing happens this summer, we win a trophy, and he decides to resign at the end of the season. It could happen, but I can’t see us risking losing him for free. It’s a massive gamble for us to take but I suppose it could happen.
It’s great news for us if they really are going to stay, because they’re obviously important parts of our team. We need to stop relying on Cesc so much though, because he will leave soon and then we might struggle. I’ve been saying recently that the dangers of having a playmaker are that when he’s not there, the team looks lost. Seeing as most of our play goes through Cesc, other players will have to step up when he’s not there. That’s why Man United have been so successful without a playmaker – the responsibility is shared equally throughout the team, and they play much more like a unit.
It’s the same at Borussia Dortmund, who took the Bundesliga by storm this year. They have a young team, with no huge stars, and that means they’re all equal and therefore united, which gives them better team performances.
Speaking of Dortmund, it looks like they’re on the verge of signing Nicklas Bendtner. He’s a figure that really divides Gooners everywhere – personally, I think he’ll go on to be a big player. He’s shown glimpses at Arsenal, and Drogba is an example of players who peak late; Bendtner could be similar in that respect. He’s already scored some big goals for us; late winners vs Hull and Wolves, for which I’ll forever love him, not to mention the winner against Tottenham and the hat-trick against Porto. While he did fluff a chance against Barcelona, he did score one against them the previous year, and assisted Walcott’s goal, while also helping win the penalty.
I can only wish him all the best, and hope that the sale doesn’t come back to haunt us. I fear that it will, but luckily we look to be getting a nice sell-on fee for whenever he leaves Dortmund, which could be quite large if he does indeed come good as I think he will.
But, back to the original matter – welcome to Arsenal, Gervinho.
I have a couple of transfer stories to inform you all of today.
Firstly, via Marco Silva, we have said the following about Ricardo Alvarez following speculation linking us with the Argentine midfielder: “I am afraid it is against Club Policy to comment on any transfer speculation surrounding individual players”. However, I can confirm via Marco that it is the English Arsenal that the Argentine press is linking Alvarez with, not the Argentine Arsenal.
Marco also tweeted a quote from Nicklas Bendtner’s father and agent, Thomas, who said: “Nicklas is 100 percent determined to change club immediately”. His exclusion from the squad against Fulham pretty much confirmed that he’s on his way out. I’ll be disappointed to see him go, but that’s football. (update: 20/6/11: Marco Silva turned out to be a fake account)
wearethenorthbank have exclusively revealed that we had scouts at Villa Park to watch Stewart Downing play against Liverpool, who he has also been linked with. Apparently we look like we’re going to join the race to sign him. While I think he’s a decent player, and that we lack wingers, one big concern of mine over Downing is that he seems unable to use his right foot at times. And by “at times”, I mean “always”. However, I’ve been proven wrong in the past by similar players like Adam Johnson. If we signed Downing I’d love for him to prove me wrong.
The final story I’m going to cover is the exclusion of Jack Wilshere from the England under-21 squad for the tournament this summer. It’s a big victory for the club, as we’ll be able to have a fresh Jack ready and raring to go when next season starts. I don’t think he’ll play as big a part as he did this season – he’s notably very tired now, and Ramsey is back in the frame. As well as that, there will certainly be some reshuffling of the squad.
I’m avoiding talk of on-pitch matters, as our season clunked to an uninspiring halt on Sunday. There was reason to celebrate though – often our scourge, Birmingham City have been relegated to the Championship. Sadly, Blackpool have gone down too, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
I’ll try and publish more news just as soon as I hear of it.