July 11, 2011

LONDON (Reuters) -- Arsenal recruited Lille's 24-year-old Ivory Coast forward Gervinho on Monday as they bid to boost their firepower this season and end a trophy drought stretching back to 2005.

"He is an official Arsenal player. Gervinho has joined training today at London Colney (in England)," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told a news conference during the club's pre-season trip to Malaysia.

The arrival of Gervinho, who scored 28 goals in 67 games for Ligue 1 champions Lille over the last two seasons, comes amid speculation that top midfielders Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas could leave despite Wenger saying he will fight to keep them.

British media reported that Gervinho, who generally operated on the right of a front three for last season's surprise French double winners, had cost 12.0 million pounds ($19.3 million).

Gervinho, whose full name is Gervais Yao Kouassi, moved to Belgium League side Beveren when he was 17 before heading to France where he played for Le Mans before joining Lille two years ago.

He has represented his country at both the Olympics and last year's World Cup.

Forward Niklas Bendtner and goalkeeper Manuel Almunia have both been linked with moves away from Arsenal in the media.

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