Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that Gervinho will not be rushed back into Premier League duty following his trip to South Africa for the 2013 African Cup of Nations.
The striker may miss over a month of club football as he could be called up for international duty as early as Jan. 5 with players required 14 days prior to the tournament, which commences on Jan. 19.
With the competition concluding on Feb. 10 and Ivory Coast the favorites, Gervinho is likely to miss crucial matches against Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, and even the FA Cup game at Swansea on Jan. 6 – a problem Wenger recognizes as inevitable, alongside the issue of fatigue.
"Usually it's always a battle to get him to play in the FA Cup third round. When they come back, the players have played a massive competition," Wenger told the club's official website.
"Last year, we never [got] him back completely because he came back with a disappointing result and we didn't give him any rest. Maybe we have to do it a little bit differently when he comes back [in 2013]."
Ivory Coast begins its Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Togo on Jan.y 22. It faces Tunisia four days later and completes its group fixtures against Algeria on Jan. 30.