Africa

Last updated: 18 november, 2011 - 15:03 GMT

BBC African Footballer of the Year 2011: Profile - Gervinho

Gervinho

Gervinho, 24, won the first silverware of his career this year, though he is still trying to find his feet at his new club Arsenal.

Before his transfer to the English Premiership in July, he was instrumental in Lille winning the double, as they won the French league and also the Coupe de France.

He scored a total of 18 goals last season, 15 of them in the league, and a crucial one in the semi-final of the Coupe de France against Nice.

At the end of the season he was linked with several big clubs including Paris Saint Germain, and Atletico Madrid.

But in July he completed a transfer to Arsenal for a reported fee of almost US$17m.

He scored twice in his first 15 minutes in an Arsenal shirt, which was a friendly against German outfit FC Koln.

However his Premier League debut against Newcastle Utd was in stark contrast as he was sent off for slapping Joey Barton.

He was subsequently given a three match ban for violent conduct.

Since then he has been a regular in the first team and at the time of the launch of this vote he has scored twice in eight appearances.

Born Gervais Yao Kouassi, he was given the Brazilian style nickname Gervinho during his early playing days at Asec Mimosas, having come through the club's famous youth academy.

From there he moved to Ivorian second division side Toumodi FC where he turned professional.

He arrived in Europe in 2004 to play for Belgian side Beveren, before moving to France.

He played first for Le Mans alongside fellow Ivorian international Romaric, and joined Lille in 2009.

For the last two years he’s been named Ivory Coast’s best footballer, but for the time being Arsenal fans remain divided about their new signing.

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