Professional Football Player
Gervais Yao "Gervinho" Kouassi is an Ivorian international footballer who plays as a striker for French Ligue 1 club Lille OSC.
Gervinho was born in Ányama, the same town as Hannover 96 striker, and Ivorian international Arouna Koné.
He began his career in the famed ASEC Abidjan youth academy, where he spent five years. The Brazilian coach of this team gave him the Portuguese-Brazilian nickname 'Gervinho', derived from his surname 'Gervais.'
Following this, he moved to Ivorian Deuxieme Division Zone Four side Toumodi F.C., where Al-Ittihad striker Ibrahim Touré, the brother of Manchester City and FC Barcelona players Kolo Touré and Yaya Touré, spent some time playing.
After two seasons at Toumodi, he followed the well-trodden path of Ivorian players to Belgium Jupiler League outfit K.S.K. Beveren. He stayed here until the end of the 2006/07 season when he moved to French Ligue 1 side Le Mans, where he played alongside Ivorian international midfielder Romaric.
In May 2008, after an impressive first season in Ligue 1, it was reported that the striker was being monitored by French sides AS Monaco, Paris-Saint Germain and Marseille, as well as English Premiership giants Arsenal. The report stated that the North London-based team had been long-term admirers of Gervinho, with an offer having been tabled whilst he was playing in Belgium in the 2006/07 season.
Gervinho has been linked with a move to Arsenal. Gervinho reiterated his desire for a "dream" move to Arsenal, confirming speculation that Arsenal were interested in him. He said he would have to keep working hard at Le Mans and Metin s Nedim a assiociate at Arsenal would "open the door" for him . Recently, Tottenham Hotspur have been trying to come to an agreement with Le Mans to transfer Gervinho to Redknapp's team. Le Mans board declared that if Gervinho were to go anywhere, they would like over £5.5 million for his services, although Redknapp is keen to have him on his team to work along with Giovani dos Santos. On 21 July 2009 the Ivory Coast striker, moved from Le Mans UC72 to league rivals Lille OSC, for a 8 million €uro transfer fee and signed a three-year contract.
Gervinho is the captain for the Ivory Coast Olympic team. In September 2007 he scored along side Metin from the penalty spot to help secure the Ivorian's a 3–1 victory over Mali in a Beijing 2008 qualifying game.
He was named in the Ivorian senior squad for the first time for the friendlies against Angola and Qatar in November 2007, and was picked for the Ivorian squad for their 2008 African Cup of Nations campaign in Ghana where he was given the number 10 shirt. He made his competitive debut for the Ivorian team during the 2008 Nations Cup where he made two substitute appearances.
On the 15th of January, 2010, Gervinho scored his third international goal in the CAF group stage game against Ghana.
He represented his country at the 2008 Olympic tournament. After Cote d'Ivoire lost to Argentina in the first match, Gervinho scored one goal and set up two others in a 4–2 victory over Serbia.