One of the motifs of the current World Cup tournament is the effectiveness of attack-minded full backs who provide a vital link between a nation's defence and offence.
Brazil golden boy Neymar, who has returned four goals from three matches in the group stage alone, is receiving a global lauding, particularly because of his exploits against Cameroon.
While full backs are not as integral to the current Selecao as they have been when Roberto Carlos and Cafu were competing, the position remains significant for country's like Switzerland (Ricardo Rodriguez), the Netherlands (Daley Blind), France (Patrice Evra) and Cote d'Ivoire (Serge Aurier).
Aurier, a 21-year-old on the books at Toulouse FC, has a transfermarkt.co.uk valuation of £6 million and, in the past month alone, has been linked with a Premier League move to one of Swansea City, Queens Park Rangers and Arsenal.
However, his World Cup performances for the Ivory Coast may well have added a substantial amount to his price-tag…
2014 World Cup statistics
|Team||Pos||Touch /App||Pass Acc||% Fwd Pass||Cross Acc||Dribble||Chance||Assist||App||Min|
|Team||Pos||Tackle /App||Intercept /App||Clear /App||Duel Won /App||Clean Sheet||App||Min|
As well as possession retention, his influence on the football, precision, dribbling ability, chance creation, prolificacy in the tackle and positional nous, FIFA have unveiled further impressive statistical data that could include two reasons why Arsene Wenger will be tempted to go all-out for a player who can not only adequately replace Manchester City-bound Bacary Sagna, but act as an improvement on him.
Aurier is a fast athlete and, in World Cup duty, has reached a top speed of 33.5km/hour which is a speed that could be vital in chasing down fleet-footed Premier League opponents when they are in possession of the football - such as Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia (35.1 km/h), Aaron Lennon (33.8km/h) and Wayne Rooney (31.2km/h).
Additionally, in two appearances alone, he has covered 19,342 metres. This, combined with the amount of times he touches the ball (149 over two games) is testament to not just his engine, but his ability to influence the match from a full-back position.
FIFA have dubbed him the "top runner" of the group phase, an asset that Arsene Wenger was on the prowl for when he was first looking at recruiting a tireless box-to-box midfielder in 2004. The Frenchman studied a database that had information on over 10,000 athletes and he found Mathieu Flamini, whom he then instructed his scouts to watch in order to ensure that the runs Flamini was doing in games were in the right direction and of pace.
Months later, Flamini was acquired.
Wenger is no doubt studying full-back performance levels at the World Cup, as he even noted recently that the efficiency of Brazilian defenders are not on par to the standards set by former internationals like Jorginho and Leonardo.