Arsenal seal deal for Ivorian Gervinho

LONDON - 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 sounding confident that both would stay put.

Asked whether he expected Fabregas to stay, Wenger said: "Yes. As simple as that.

"I have never spoken about what has happened behind closed doors but Cesc loves the club. We know the Barcelona story goes on for years now and we have to close that. Now we focus on the new season, hopefully with Cesc Fabregas," the club website quoted him as saying.

"There is always speculation when a player has one year to go on his contract that he might leave the club but Samir Nasri is very happy at the club and committed to stay at the club," added the Frenchman.

"I hope he will sign a new contract but I am not the only one to decide that."

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.

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.