Only the most optimistic of Arsenal fans would describe Gervinho’s period at the club as anything but a disaster, with the Ivorian’s reputation in tatters after two seasons in the Premier League where he has provoked as much ridicule as he has fear among opposition defences.
With this in mind it might seem unlikely that he would stay in England should he leave Arsenal this summer, but is there any case for saying that Newcastle United would be wise to move for the 26-year-old?
The Magpies were originally keen on Gervinho when Arsenal signed him from Lille for just under £11million in 2011; with Newcastle favourites to sign the Ivorian before Arsene Wenger stepped up his interest.
Most fans would consider it a lucky escape but Gervinho, for all his faults, has many talents that could surely benefit Newcastle if Alan Pardew could get him back in the form he showed for Lille.
Gervinho scored 36 goals in his two seasons in France, an excellent return for a wide forward, and his dribbling is amongst the best in the league, albeit so far only up to the moment he tries to pass or shoot.
His problems at Arsenal cannot be ignored, but if given a more secure first team spot at Newcastle, alongside plenty of other former Ligue 1 players, Gervinho might find himself in an environment where he is able to recover his best form.
At 26, Gervinho should be able to play at his peak for several more years, and he would be a natural fit for the three-pronged attack that Pardew favoured in the second half of last season. With Gervinho and Hatem Ben Arfa flanking Papiss Cisse, Newcastle would have an attack that could tear any team apart on its day.
Whether Newcastle would be interested would be dependent on the kind of price Arsenal would be asking for Gervinho, and there is also the chance that Arsene Wenger hopes to bring out the best in the Ivorian himself at the Emirates. Gervinho might himself favour a return to France, however if a deal could be struck, and Newcastle were able to coax the best from the 26-year-old, he could still be a success in the Premier League.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald