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'Africa has its Messi!' writes a journalist in Italy.....and Arsenal just sold him to Roma.
From The Guardian...
Roma top of Serie A, on a stunning winning streak, and with a reborn Gervinho being so breathlessly admired by the locals that a writer in Il Romanista swooned that "Africa has its Messi", Sabatini reflected on a move that owed everything to the connection between player and mentor. "I would not have signed Gervinho for any other coach," he said. "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."
He is playing with the enthusiasm of a man who has returned to a happy place. Gervinho has not come home in a physical sense because Italian football is new to him. But he has come home in a footballing sense. He feels absolutely at ease with Garcia. He feels implicit trust, which has given him the freedom to play without any anxiety. "I knew exactly what I was looking for when I joined Roma: the chance to play more, a coach who showed faith in me and a club with high ambitions," Gervinho explained. So far, so good.
Wenger has often trotted out the maxim that confidence is the "hardest thing to gain and the easiest thing to lose" and the more he looked at Gervinho, the deeper he felt that particular problem. When Roma called, it felt like a reasonable solution for everybody. "He looked to play with a lack of confidence, especially at the Emirates," Wenger said. "He is a very creative player, an instinctive dribbler and for that you need a lot of confidence to be completely efficient. I felt that in the last six months it was very difficult for him to express his talent in a confident way. Then you sit there and think: 'Do I bring him back or does he need a new challenge to get that confidence back?' and I did not want to stop him from getting a new chance."
For Wenger, it was a harder decision than some may imagine. As a manager he had witnessed numerous examples of players reaching new levels with a switch of clubs. It was something of a speciality in the first act of his Arsenal tenure, with Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp perfect examples of the benefits of a new chapter. Wenger accepted Gervinho needed a similar opportunity. He knew a fresh challenge would be an easier one than overcoming the doubters (and the player's self-doubts) at Arsenal.
Garcia is delighted that he and his protege (this is the third time he has signed Gervinho) have been able to flick the conviction switch so quickly. Gervinho still has his moments where his unpredictability is too enigmatic even for his team-mates to figure out, but overall his contribution to Roma's attacking play has been a revelation. "He is a lad who needs confidence," Garcia said. "We must understand that the scoring opportunities he creates don't exist without him there. He can get some wrong but I prefer to have him there because I know he'll create those opportunities. Gervinho has more experience now, is happy with his Roma team-mates and it's easier for him to play."
You know, I could have sworn I always said all Gervinho needed was confidence. Did you not the bit about Gervinho struggling to perform in front of the Emirates crowd too?
Same can be said for 99% of our lads in recent years.