Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Premier League

Gervinho praises Arsene Wenger after completing Arsenal move

Ivory Coast international Gervinho is determined to take his game to another level at Arsenal under the guidance of Arsene Wenger.

The 24-year-old forward today completed his transfer from Lille, for what is understood to be an £11million fee, and will link up with the rest of the squad who have returned from a successful Asia tour.

Gervinho caught the eye of plenty of Barclays Premier League clubs as his 18 goals spearheaded Lille's drive towards a Ligue 1 and Coupe de France title double.

However, the Ivory Coast forward maintains the opportunity to work with manager Wenger was too good an opportunity to pass up once Arsenal's interest was confirmed.

"When you are young, you always want to improve, to work with great managers - and Arsene Wenger is one of the best in the world," Gervinho told ArsenalPlayer.

"I think that with him, I will become a much better player, and he was very important in my choice to sign here.

"I came here because I believe that he can improve my game and help me reach another level, but the most important thing for me is that I bring a lot to the team for whom I am playing."

Gervinho accepts it make take a few weeks to adapt to the English top flight, but he is determined to be up to speed when the Gunners kick off their Premier League campaign at Newcastle on August 13.

"I want to use my time here at Arsenal to develop my strengths," he said.

"I know English football is harder and I might need a bit of time at the start, but ultimately it is down to me to raise my game and adapt.

"With the help of the team, I hope I can do that quickly.

"I will prepare well to be ready by the start."

Wenger is in no doubt Arsenal's first major overseas tour was a success, and commercial success is likely to back that up, although defence may again be an area for concern after the 1-1 draw with Chinese Super League side Hangzhou Greentown on Saturday.

Arsenal have also been dogged by continued rumours over the futures of captain Cesc Fabregas, who did not travel to Asia because of a niggling hamstring injury, and playmaker Samir Nasri, who has yet to sign a new deal.

Wenger was left less than impressed by noises coming from Barcelona and Manchester City over the key duo, with the Spaniards remaining keen on Fabregas and City chasing Nasri, but accepts the situation with the skipper has soon to be put to bed one way or another.

Fabregas continued his fitness work at the club's Hertfordshire base last week, but there has yet been no decision as to whether the Spain World Cup winner will join the rest of the squad as they jet out to Germany ahead of Saturday's friendly in Cologne.

Brazilian midfielder Denilson, however, is set to spend next season on loan at former club Sao Paulo.

The 23-year-old struggled to hold down a regular place in Wenger's side.

Denilson said: "I will be playing in Brazil next season as I felt that this is a good opportunity for me to play regular first-team football.

"I move away with sadness because I have so many friends at Arsenal and everyone has always been so supportive towards me."

Despite claiming his backline was not "weak", Wenger is expected to bring in more defensive cover, especially given the terrible display of reserve centre-half Sebastien Squillaci against Greentown.

Germany international Per Mertesacker, currently at Werder Bremen, and also Bolton's England defender Gary Cahill have long been reported targets.

Swiss centre-half Johan Djourou, however, insists all is not lost at the back.

"It's true that we conceded a lot of goals from set-pieces and I think a lot comes down to focus more than anything else," Djourou told www.Arsenal.com.

"I have to say as well that in this league players are really going for it - to mark man-for-man is sometimes difficult because there is so much blocking that you need to adapt and we will do that.

"But it's more about focus than anything else, it's more about getting tight to your guy and more communication between the team. Then it will be easier for us."

Djourou added: "We have meetings after games to talk about where we go wrong and now it's time to learn from it and move forward."