On Sunday, French football had its annual awards night in Paris. The UNFP gave out awards for the best player, the best young player and the best goalkeeper amongst others. They also picked their Team of the Season, the best in each position making up their favoured XI.
Toulouse right-back Serge Aurier was selected in defence alongside Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Silva, Loic Perrin of Saint-Etienne and Monaco’s Layvin Kurzawa. This is the biggest award the Ivorian has won, and it is a great indication that the man linked with a move to Arsenal this summer is worthy of taking over from Bacary Sagna next season.
This has been Aurier’s best season at Toulouse. Not only has he shown great defensive attributes, but he has also started to contribute to the attacking side of the game. He has scored a record high six goals and has also added six assists. He has played both at centre-back and at right-wing back; both positions show off exactly what he brings to any team, but his natural position is still as a right-back in a 4-4-2.
Arsenal have been linked with the player for most of the season, and now that Aurier is set to take up a starting position for the Ivory Coast at this summer’s World Cup, it will give Arsenal fans to see the 21-year-old in action. So far people have questioned if he is good enough to take over from Sagna, but the defender has played more Ligue 1 games than the 31-year-old had for Auxerre before leaving, and this latest inclusion as the best right-back in the French top flight should be all the convincing that the Arsenal fans need.
Ligue 1 Team of Season: Sirigu, Aurier, T.Silva, Perrin, Kurzawa, Verratti, Thiago Motta, Cavani, Rodriguez, Lacazette, Ibrahimovic @UNFP— James Eastham (@james_eastham) May 11, 2014
For anyone who has seen him play over the last few seasons, they would have little doubt over his ability to not only replace Sagna, but to impress in the Premier League next campaign as well.
Aurier is one of the best young defenders in Europe, and it is time for him to spread his wings and branch out from Ligue 1. Playing under Arsene Wenger would be the perfect next step. If Arsenal do make a move this summer, then it would be one of the best deals they will do for the next couple of years.