With 12 goals and 10 assists in all competitions, this season has been as much a revelation for Gervinho as it's been a rebirth. While he's still had a few intermittent Arsenal moments--missing clear cut chances and waiting a tad too long to lay the ball off--he's been far more effective in his first year in Roma than perhaps at any point in his career, certainly more than his days in London.
Given his renaissance and the sheer numbers he's thrown up for Rudi Garcia this season, it should come as no surprise that Gervinho has made the Ivory Coast's provisional 28-man roster for next month's World Cup.
While the Elephants may not be the favorite for this summer's honors, Gervinho is but one among an impressive list of talents. Joining Gervinho (we still never narrowed down an appropriate nickname for him, did we?) in Brazil will be Roma rumor target Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and the Toures: both the Yaya and Kolo variety.
Ivory Coast World Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe Sport), AliSangare (Asec Mimosas), Sayouba Sande (Stabaek).
Defenders: Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Sol Bamba (Trabzonspor), Didier Zokora(Trabzonspor), Serge Aurier (Toulouse), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), BenjaminAngoua (Valenciennes), Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba (Caykur Rizespor), Constant Djakpa (Frankfurt), Brice Dja Djedje (Marseille), Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro (Toulouse).
Midfielders: Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Cheik Tiote (Newcastle), SereyDie (Basel), Max Gradel (Saint Etienne), Diomande Ismael (Saint Etienne),Didier Ya Konan (Hannover), Mathis Bolly (Dusseldorf).
Forwards: Gervinho (Roma), Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Salomon Kalou(Lille), Wilfried Bony (Swansea), Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow), LacinaTraore (Everton), Giovanni Sio (Basel).
A pretty impressive collection of talent, and with the likes of Greece, Japan and Colombia standing in their way in Group C, the Ivory Coast could be considered the favorites in this group.
Much like Maicon, Roma's gamble on Arsenal's erstwhile striker has paid off, so join us in congratulating the man with the finest collection of self-monikered hats.