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Jul 18, 2011

Gunners complete Gervinho signing

Arsenal have completed the signing of striker Gervinho from Lille for an undisclosed fee, reported to be around £10.5 million.

• Wenger wants end to Cesc saga
• Blog: A mixed tour of Asia

The Gunners announced last week a deal had been agreed and the paperwork has now been approved, with Gervinho penning what Arsenal would only describe as a "long-term contract".

Gervinho, who helped Lille to win the Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double last season, said: "It's a great feeling to be an Arsenal player. I'm very happy. I've always dreamed to play for this club. I've achieved this dream now and I am so happy. It's one of the most beautiful days of my life.''

He added on the club's official website: "I'm very happy to have the chance to work with Arsene Wenger. 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'm 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.''

The Ivory Coast international scored 18 goals in 49 games for Lille last season but Wenger said the 24-year-old's ability to play anywhere across the front line was just as important as his strike-rate.

"Gervinho is a player that can play in a number of positions up front. He can play on the right, on the left and through the middle. He has qualities that I find very important, like his movement off the ball. He has the qualities we like technically," Wenger said.

"He is good one against one, he is strong and was the best provider in the French league with assists and he scored 15 goals. I think he is a very good addition to the squad."

Like Premier League stars Kolo Toure, Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalou and Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue, Gervinho began his career with ASEC Mimosas in Abidjan.

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