Why Arsenal target Serge Aurier is the best young defender in Europe

Arsenal have been watching the young defender for years and now is the right time for them to make a move for him.

It seems strange that Serge Aurier is still only 21-years-old. It is even more bizarre that he is still playing his football in France, even more so that he is at mid-table side Toulouse. Arsenal have been strong admirers for a couple of years now, and they should up their interest this summer. He is currently enjoying the best season of his career and is now undoubtedly one, if not the, best young defender in Europe.

Aurier broke through at French side Lens, but they were relegated to Ligue 2 in 2011, despite the set-back, the experience was the perfect start for 18-year-old Aurier. Lens played with a flat back-four and it is strange looking at his teammates that they struggled to stay in Ligue 1. On the opposite flank was Henri Bedimo, he went on to lift Le Championnat with Montpellier and now plays for Lyon. In the middle was the vastly experienced Alassane Yahia and the now Real Madrid and France centre-back Raphael Varane.

Yahia is still with Lens, but the other three have moved on since the drop, and now, this summer it seems that Aurier will be destined for a move to one of Europe’s top sides, and he is more than ready for the challenge.

Under Alain Casanova at Toulouse he has played in a variety of positions. He started as a normal right-back and he showed his desire and work rate week in, week out. Rarely caught out of position, he showed he could attack high up the pitch, but also recover back to help his fellow defenders.

Over the past 18 months his game has developed even more. Casanova has at times played 3-5-2 and Aurier has been active all over the park, at times it would seem like he was playing every position on the pitch. He would be picked either as one of the three central-defenders or the right-wing-back. Wherever he is asked to play, he has been superb.

Centrally he is big and strong enough to take on the strongest centre-forwards, plus his speed helps him combat whatever threat they possess. Then as a wing-back, his determination and tractor like engine helps him burst forward and support the attacks. Now this season he has added goals to his game. At no point in his career had he managed more than a single goal in a season. Now with his added attacking impotence he has scored five goals this season and his powerful and accurate right-foot has helped him provide six assists too. He is becoming an all-round sensation, according to WhoScored.com it’s no surprise that he is ranked as the best performer in the current Toulouse squad.

His current contract is up in 2018, so it will take a decent offer for Toulouse to sell. Central-defender Aymen Abdennour is currently on-loan at Monaco with an option to buy for €15 million. It is likely that it will take a similar offer to sign the Ivory Coast international this summer.

Aurier is now a regular part of the Ivorian national team having ousted Emmanuel Eboue from the right-back role. This summer would be the perfect time for Arsenal to make Aurier the new permanent right-back at the Emirates. Sagna has been a great servant for Arsene Wenger, but Aurier has the potential to be an even greater success in North-London.

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