This may be a bit of a shock to some of you, but Tottenham Hotspur still haven’t signed anyone in the summer transfer window. This is a tad problematic, especially at the right back position since after selling Kyle Walker to Manchester City the only current competition for Kieran Trippier is 20-year old Kyle Walker-Peters.
With rumors that Spurs’ interest in Porto’s Ricardo Pereira might be drying up, PSG’s Serge Aurier has now emerged as a possible transfer target for Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino.
But boy howdy, are there some issues with this! First, however, the positives.
There’s little question that the Ivory Coast native is a good fullback. In 81 games in all competitions with PSG, he’s scored five goals, tallied 15 assists, and won Ligue 1 twice among a number of other honors. He’s also a full Ivory Coast international, and already has 39 caps at the age of 24. There’s no question that he’s a good player who could challenge Trippier or even leap ahead of him in Spurs’ starting lineup, and since he apparently has a French passport he’d instantly get a work permit as well.
However, Aurier is known as much for his off-the-pitch issues as he is for his game. According to ESPN he regularly clashed with PSG manager Unai Emery and saw his game time drop to Belgian fullback Thomas Meunier towards the end of the season.
Aurier also received a two-month suspended prison sentence after he pled guilty to assaulting a police officer outside of a Paris nightclub in 2016, an incident that he is appealing but that saw him banned from the UK when PSG played Arsenal last season in the Champions League. That situation is still ongoing.
PSG signed Dani Alves ahead of Manchester City (much to the consternation of Spurs fans who wanted to keep Walker), and Aurier now finds himself the third choice right back in Paris. He’s demanded to leave and will likely get his wish with Manchester United, Inter, and Spurs reportedly interested. ESPN says it’s likely a fee of €20-25m could be enough to sign him.
Aurier may be a good player, and the price is pretty good for a back of his caliber, but this doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea for Tottenham Hotspur. Pochettino have a bit of a reputation for being an “a—hole whisperer” from his time at Southampton dealing with Dani Osvaldo, but Aurier gives all the warning signs that he could be a locker room cancer, and the kind of player that could upset the squad harmony that’s so crucial to Spurs’ success next season. He’s the kind of player that some fans just don’t want to root for, even if he’s on your team.
On the other hand, say what you will about the ability of Kieran Trippier but he can’t do it alone, and relying on a combination of an untested Kyle Walker-Peters or a player like Eric Dier playing out of position makes me extremely nervous as we head into a Champions League season. Aurier would be a solid talent who could fill the void left behind by Kyle Walker, assuming that the issues with his suspended prison sentence and jerkish behavior can be smoothed over.
If Pereira is no longer an option, the list of possible right backs that are available for Spurs to sign and that would be good competition for Trippier are relatively few. From a footballing perspective Aurier would be a solid addition to the squad, but the intangibles and cloud that hangs over him make this an especially risky proposition.
Who do you want as competition for Kieran Trippier at right back next season?
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