By Wayne Veysey
The Ivory Coast forward has agreed personal terms this week and is ready to sign permanently for Arsenal on a four-year contract.
Goal.com understands the structure of the deal has been agreed in principle between the Premier League club and the French champions and the first significant signing of the window by Arsenal should be completed shortly.
“Arsenal have already held talks with Lille and are expecting the deal to go through very soon,” a source told Goal.com. “It looks a certainty that it will be tied up by the end of the week.”
Gervinho played an instrumental role in Lille’s double-winning campaign, scoring 18 goals and providing 10 assists in all competitions.
He is set to become the third senior play to leave the French club following midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who has joined Newcastle for €5m, and defender Adil Rami, who formally arrived at Valencia after being signed in January for €6m and then loaned back.
However, Lille are confident they can now hang on to €23m-rated prize asset Eden Hazard, who they believe could be worth another €6m in 12 months’ time if he has another strong season in France.
The golden boy of Belgian football has been consistently linked with all of Europe’s marquee clubs during the window but Lille have decided to cash in on Cabaye and Gervinho rather than Hazard.
Lille general manager Frederic Paquet revealed earlier this week that Gervinho was in “advanced talks” with Arsenal after the French club had rebuffed interest in the player from Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain.
Gervinho’s arrival at Emirates Stadium will pave the way for the departure of Nicklas Bendtner, who has publicly expressed his desire to move in search of regular first-team football.
The Ivorian is even more versatile than Bendtner, who was frequently played out wide last season, and can slot in at the tip of Wenger’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, out on the flanks or in the second striker role.