To call Roma's signing of Gervinho last summer a gamble would be an understatement of epic proportions. Gervinho was always blessed with game changing speed, but his time in Arsenal was marked more by dramatic flubs than breathtaking pace; he was more a source of frustration than elation. The man who lit Ligue 1 on fire, scoring 28 goals and dishing out 13 assists over two seasons with Lille, had become a laughing stock in London. Honestly, were it not for Rudi Garcia's familiarity and faith in the young Ivory Coast forward, he may have languished another year in London.
Fortunately for Gervinho, Garcia's faith was enough to move Walter Sabatini to action, who took Gervinho off Arsene Wenger's hands for €8m. Through his first 39 appearances for the Giallorossi, that investment has paid off in spades. Not only has The Predator scored 13 goals and contributed 10 assists in all competitions, but he dramatically increased his shot accuracy from a woeful 36% during his last season with Arsenal to an impressive and club leading 69% last year. His passing, playmaking and one-v-one numbers all showed improvements during his first season in Rome as well.
Given those impressive early returns, it should come as no surprise that the club decided to extend his contract, which was set to expire in 2017, through the end of 2018. Although the financial details weren't officially released, word on the streets is that Gervinho will be making €2.9m per season.
Granted, Gervinho still misses a lot of clear cut scoring chances and still has the tendency to dribble himself into to trouble and/or ignore open teammates, but his impact on Roma's success last season was undeniable and he figures to remain a key figure in Garcia's side for the foreseeable future.