By Chris Harris
Gervinho will look to follow the shining example of Robert Pires as he embarks upon his second season with Arsenal.
It's 12 years since Pires joined Arsenal from Marseille but his exploits are hard to forget. After taking time to adapt to the physical nature of the Premier League, the former France international ended his second campaign in London as Footballer of the Year after Arsène Wenger's side won the Double.
Gervinho showed plenty of promise in his own debut campaign - making 37 appearances - but like Pires he needed a while to acclimatise to a quicker, more muscular style of football. Now the Ivory Coast international wants to follow in Pires' footsteps by raising his game and winning trophies.
"You should always look at these examples from the past," Gervinho told Arsenal Player. "Robert is a fantastic player, very experienced, and I saw this for myself [when Pires was] training here.
"I really hope to emulate Robert Pires in my second season, hopefully do even better, but I hope to carve out my own niche of course.
"I hope to push on personally, also to progress with the team and to showcase my qualities. I've learnt lots of things, coming to a new club, being new to the Premier League. I've learnt to adapt on the pitch and, when I think back, also in front of goal.
"I really feel that I've come on a lot, I feel really good in training and I'm ready for my second season."
Gervinho emerged with credit from Arsenal's 0-0 draw with Sunderland after showing his willingness to take on defenders. He knows he is no longer an unknown quantity to top-flight opponents but remains confident he can step up to a new level.
"I'm fully aware of that and I'll have to give even more and raise the bar even higher after my first season here," said Gervinho. "I'm up for the challenge, I've got lots of confidence in my own ability and I know I've got to keep up my standards.
"I may have to change the way I play, mix up my game a bit, but as I said, I've learnt and can take a lot from my first season. I'll relish the challenge and I really want to show the Club and the fans [what I can do] this year."
Watch the full interview with Gervinho on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 23 Aug 2012