x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Lille forward Gervinho plans to hold Arsenal talks

Ivory Coast striker has expressed a desire to move after playing a key role in winning the Ligue 1 title.

Last season Gervinho scored 15 goals and provided 10 assists in Ligue 1 for Lille.
Last season Gervinho scored 15 goals and provided 10 assists in Ligue 1 for Lille.

Frederic Paquet, the general manager of Lille, the French champions, has confirmed Gervinho wants to move to England this summer and talks with Arsenal are planned.

Gervinho played a key role as Lille won the Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double last season, their first trophy for 56 years.

The Ivory Coast international, who can play as a central striker or a winger, contributed 15 goals and 10 assists in the league alone.

Paris St Germain have asked about the 24 year old but his club are not keen on selling to a domestic rival.

Paquet told the RMC radio station: "He wants to go and has developed contacts with Arsenal. We will soon have talks with them and see what they offer.

"He has expressed a desire to go to England and we will see what happens."

The link with PSG was a non-starter insists Paquet, who added: "Paris St Germain inquired but we are not thinking about strengthening a competitor."

Although Lille will entertain the idea of selling Gervinho, their stance is different on Eden Hazard, who has also interested Arsenal. Paquet has described the 20-year-old Belgian playmaker as "untransferable".

Lille earlier announced the capture of Ronny Rodelin, a 21-year-old striker from Ligue 2 club Nantes and they plan to keep the bulk of their squad intact in preparation for the defence of their title and Champions League football.

The possible move for Gervinho comes as Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal's chief executive, promised a busy few months in the transfer market with the club keen to bolster their squad after what he said had been a profoundly disappointing season.

Gazidis said shortcomings of the team, who finished fourth in the Premier League and have now gone six successive season without a trophy, had to be acknowledged and rectified.

"It is going to be an active summer. I expect to be busy and Arsene [Wenger, the manager] expects to be busy," Gazidis told a meeting of the Arsenal Supporters Trust at the Emirates Stadium on Monday. "We are working hard during this close season - very hard."

However, he declined to elaborate on who the club wanted to sign and also refused to answer questions on the futures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, the midfielders who have been linked with moves to other clubs.