Club director admits he would not have signed £10.8m Arsenal flop

Roma director of football Walter Sabatini has stated he only signed Gervinho from Arsenal because of Rudi Garcia's passion for the move to go through.

When Arsenal agreed to let Gervinho join AS Roma this summer, you certainly would not have found many, if any, Arsenal fans shedding a tear over his departure, when you cinsider how he was treated by Gunners fans toward the end of his North London stay.

The Ivorian never managed to live up to his £10.8 million price-tag and his poor decision making, goal return and often clumsy demeanour on the field of play was never much of an endearing factor to the Arsenal faithful.

But at 26-years-old there is still plenty of time ahead of his career, so there was always going to be a degree of interest in his services this summer. When Rudi Garcia took over at Roma, the former Lille boss saw an opportunity to reacquaint himself with a player who experienced great success under him in the North of France.

He joined the Giallorossi for £8 million - almost a £3 million loss - and the fans seem to like him as well, despite his occasional erraticism - Arsenal fans will know what I am talking about.

But if the Roma director Walter Sabatini had his way Gervinho would never have signed for the Giallorossi.

Sabatini, who himself played for Roma in his 10 year footballing career, has admitted that he was not keen on bringing in the former Lille striker.

In fact the only reason he did so was after plenty of convincing from the new manager Garcia.

Gervinho recently commented on his special relationship with the gaffer in the Italian capital - admitting it was much stronger than that he had with Arsene Wenger.

But it must be really strong, if Garcia felt to protest so strongly to Sabatini that his signature was essential.

Here is what Sabatini has said:

“I would not have signed Gervinho for any other Coach. If a tactician requests a player for a certain role, then that’s different. Garcia specifically requested Gervinho, a player he had worked with and won with before at Lille. Because of that request we worked to bring Gervinho in. It was not an easy negotiation process, either.”

Not a ringing endorsement, but then again Gervinho should be used to criticism by now - while Arsenal must thank Garcia, and not Sabatini, for taking him off their hands.

image: © ronnie macdonald

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