You didn't see Arsenal charter a jet to get Gervinho get back from Africa...

Arsenal attacker Gervinho made his first post-AFCON performance for the club at the weekend. And it was predictably dour.

Does Gervinho have a twin? It is the only explanation, for the fact that the forward is a force to be reckoned with for his country and woeful for his club.

The Ivorian isn't the only player to suffer such a peculiar twist on the 'good enough for club but not for country' mantra; an example being one-time Northern Ireland freescoring striker David Healy who could never make a success of it in the Premier League.

The African Nations Cup causes a headache for managers in the Premier League, and while Wenger was quiet when Gervinho was called up to the tournament; supporters were positively thankful - fed up with his wretched displays in an Arsenal shirt.

Out there he scored two goals as the Elephants reached the quarter-finals; and Arsene Wenger made the bemusing statement that Gervinho 'is the best player in Africa'. Yaya Toure anyone?

Once the tournament finishes, or teams are eliminated, teams often scramble to get their players back in time to help their domestic seasons. Tottenham had real problems getting Emmanuel Adebayor back, needing him with Defoe out injured.

They had to even charter a private jet to get the former Arsenal striker back in time for their game with Newcastle; although his lethargic displays since have made them wish they really hadn't bothered.

Arsenal meanwhile had no such trouble with Gervinho; although fans may wish they had.

Gervinho arrived back early; even ahead of Arsenal's game with Sunderland last week - but such is his lack of importance to the Arsenal cause; Arsene Wenger turned around and gave him five days off.

After returning to training, he was thrown into the team against Blackburn this weekend, and reverted to type, failing to bring his lively AFCON form with him.

He had three shots on goal, one finding the target, but was never really a threat for his team, conspicuous by his lack of dynamism, and it was little surprise when he was one of the players hooked by his boss on the 70 minute mark.

The player who started this season so well, has three months remaining to change supporters minds about him. He's unlikely to feature against Bayern, from the start at least, and his usefulness to this Gunners squad is fast depreciating.

It's highly unlikely that Arsenal ever would have been in such a situation where they depended on Gervinho so much or needed him that they would spend money on a private jet to get him from Africa to the Emirates if such a scenario occurred.

His challenge is to become needed, and wanted, or otherwise he may become victim to a summer clearout at Arsenal just two years after arriving.

Does Gervinho have a future at Arsenal?




image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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