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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ivorian fans share mixed feelings about Gervinho’s Arsenal move

Gervinho’s transfer from Lille to Arsenal has been broadly greeted with enthusiasm by the Gunners’ fans, but the player’s local supporters may not be too excited :)))

As widely expected, Gervinho’s transfer from French Ligue 1 champions Lille to Arsenal was confirmed on Monday by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. Like wildfire, the news swept across the player’s homeland Cote D’Ivoire, arousing street debates fuelled by differing views

“It’s good news for himself and Arsenal, perhaps, but has little to do with our national team, which is most important to me, to us,” said Kouakou Oliver, a 26-year-old job seeker based in Abidjan, who is a Barcelona fan.

“Personally, I feel the Premier League is not the right place for Gervinho to land. His style of play and physique fit more La Liga,” Kouakou added.

While Kone Memoh, a 35-year-old navy officer stationed in Abidjan who happens to be a Chelsea fan, sees nothing special in the move.

“If Arsenal think Gervinho is the messiah they need to heal their more than half a decade trophy drought, then it’s a big mistake. We at Chelsea know Gervinho’s recruitment is the least threat to us from the Gunners, so we are not worried.”

Leon Djo Bi, a 41-year-old school teacher based in the Ivorian political capital Yamoussoukro says he does not think Gervinho will survive the physicality of the Premier League.

“Gervinho is not a physically strong and rugged player. He is the smooth and elaborate-playing guy, which makes him fit Arsenal, but I doubt if he can survive the bone for bone general tempo of the Premier League.”
However, Jean Francois Aka, a 23-year-old undergraduate resident in Abidjan, believes Gervinho’s basic skills could make him an asset at the Emirates.

“Although we’ve seen little of him within the Elephants, Gervinho has always succeeded at each of his new clubs. His pace, slippery ball walks and accurate assists would add to Arsenal’s youthful baggage.”

Too early to judge perhaps, and the new season will certainly tell us more about Gervinho's ability to adapt to English football, but for now it seems his countrymen are divided among words of praise and caution.

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