When Gervinho returned from the African Cup of Nations in early February, many Arsenal fans expected to see him back in the side for the Gunners fairly soon. After scoring four goals for the Ivory Coasy while away, and impressing with his all-round performances, it seemed the perfect time to give him another chance with the Gunners.
This season has hardly been a success for Arsenal’s Ivorian winger Gervinho, who went rapidly downhill after scoring a few goals early in the season, but now Arsene Wenger believes that this weekend’s goal against Swansea could be the start of a great run of form for the Great Foreheaded One.
Wenger thinks that he has now regained the confidence to take on opposing defenders and actually keeping the ball! Wenger said on Arsenal.com: “I know that Gervinho was under a lot of negative pressure because he missed chances and as well because I know how big that win was for us,”
Arsenal are entering an absolutely crucial stage of the season, and Arsene Wenger has said that the next few games will define our season. With matches coming thick and fast in three competitions, the depth of the squad could be of vital importance in the coming weeks, and that is why I feel that the game against Blackburn Rovers today is the perfect one to bring back the Ivorian international forward Gervinho.
Arsene Wenger still speaks about Gervinho as a key member of the Arsenal team. He explained his decision not to scout the African Cup of Nations in January by saying that the Ivorian striker was the best player in the tournament, and we already have him so there was no point. When the 25-year old forward returned after Ivory Coast were knocked out by Nigeria, Wenger decided to give him some time off before rejoining the Arsenal squad, but he will be available from now on.
If Ivan Gazidis has not been telling the Arsenal fans porkies, then Arsene Wenger is going to have asignificant amount of money to spend on players in the summer. He didn’t use much in January, so should have well over £50 million to strengthen for next season.
The defence has certainly been a bit fragile, and one player who has the talent and strength to boost it seems to be looking for a move to England. There have been rumours linking the 22-year old French international Mamadou Sakho with the Gunners, and Sakho has given every indication that he would welcome the move, as he has fallen out of favour with Ancelotti at PSG.
Arsene Wenger has told the media that he would have added to the Arsenal squad last month if he had been able to find available players of the right quality, but he could not, apparently. Many Arsenal fans were hoping for another striker, with David Villa the centre of a great deal of speculation, but Barcelona apparently refused to sell.
Daniel Le Roux – South Africa, 1957-1958, 5 games, 0 goals
Dan Roux, or Daniel Leow Le Roux, to use his full name, might not be as familiar to Just Arsenal readers as some of the other African stars covered in this series, but the South African will go down in history as the first star from the continent to wear the red strip of the Gunners. Potentially to be considered a trailblazer for the other African stars to take to the field for Arsenal, Roux remains the only South African to turn out for the side.
Arsenal fans may find this hard to believe, but Gervinho just won the first AFCON match for his country, the Ivory Coast. He was also, for me, a good contender for man of the match, along with Yaya Toure. I wonder if a good run of performances in the competition could renew his conference and give him the impetus to get his Arsenal career back on track.
Sebastian Svard – Denmark (Ghana), 2000-2005, 3 games, 0 goals
Whilst many young Gunners arrive at the club with an enormous promise and buckets of potential, few are signed with reputations as burgeoning as Svard. Bought in November 2000 from FC Kobenhavn’s reserve side, Kjobenhavns Boldklub, the youngster had impressed Arsene Wenger after accomplished performances for Denmark’s youth teams. By the time of his transfer, he had already represented the U16s and the U17s with great distinction.
Carlin Itonga – England (Democratic Republic of Congo), 1999-2002, 1 game, 0 goals
They say that if you saw Itonga play for Arsenal, you are privileged. Not because of the quality of the player, but because Itonga’s sole appearance for the side came during a terrific 4-0 victory over Manchester United in the League Cup in 2001. Whilst that November evening saw talents such as Kanu, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, and Sylvain Wiltord (who scored a sumptuous hat-trick) display their wonderful skills in front of the Gunners’ faithful, the unfortunate Itonga would never play for the club again, and soon slipped into Arsenal obscurity – joining his other teammates for that evening, Igors Stepanovs, John Halls, and Efstathios Tavlaridis.
Nacer Barazite – Holland (Morocco), 2007-2011, 3 games, 0 goals
A pacy, tall, creative attacking midfielder, much was expected of Nacer since the early days of his Arsenal career. His hugely prolific years as a youth player fuelled the anticipation, Barazite was set to be something special. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way, and his progress was stymied by injury, despite the occasional flashes of brilliance, the realisation dawned that the talented Dutchman would probably never be of Arsenal class.
Gilles Sunu – France (Togo), 2009-2011, 2 games, 0 goals
Gilles is the son of former Togolese international, midfielder Manu Sunu, and there was a time when he looked like being the next hotshot striker to emerge from the Gunners’ academy, perhaps even following in the footsteps of Emmanuel Adebayor and representing both Arsenal and the Togo national side. Unfortunately, Sunu was another deemed not good enough by Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff, and he departed in 2011, for our feeder club Lorient, with whom he had previously been on loan.