BAD BOY OF FRENCH FOOTBALL AURIER WILL BE A BIG MAN UTD SUCCESS IF…
Serge Aurier is set to depart Paris Saint-Germain in the coming days, having been handed the opportunity by Manchester United to prove that his potentially brilliant career will not be spoiled by unprofessional-ism.
At 24, Aurier has already collected armfuls of silverware both domestically in France and on the international scene with Ivory Coast. But while he commands a wealth of experience on the field, his career threatens to be undermined by persistent misdemeanors away from it.
Aurier, who said as early as 2011 that it would be “fantastic” to play in the Premier League, has already been denied a visa to enter the UK in the past , embarrassingly missing PSG’s Champions League trip to face Arsenal in 2016 as a result. He was thwarted by a conviction for assaulting a police officer outside of a nightclub in Paris – the type of controversial activity that has seen the Ligue 1 side elect to move him on.
On the park, the player’s ability has rarely been in doubt. He graduated through Lens’ famous youth academy and debuted for the first team in 2009, two days before his 17th birthday. A stint in Toulouse followed, where he enjoyed such success as a right wing-back that PSG signed him in 2014, initially on loan.
Faced with competition for his place from Gregory van der Wiel, he was able to establish himself as PSG’s first-choice right-back, filling in occasionally in the centre when required. It was an aptitude he had more regularly displayed during his time at Toulouse.
Such versatility will impress Mourinho, but it is his attacking attributes that he will be signed for.
In 57 league matches for PSG, he scored two goals and provided an outstanding 11 assists, while his figures while acting as a wing-back in Toulouse were even more dizzying. He scored eight goals and laid on 12 more in 68 appearances. In his final season with TFC, he was their leading assist maker and only strikers Martin Braithwaite and Wissam Ben Yedder scored more goals.
Should Mourinho let him off his leash, he is a formidable presence.
Although occasionally forgetful of his defensive duties, a fault not regularly exposed in Ligue 1 as PSG are typically so dominant, it is not for this failing that the Parisian side are allowing him to depart.
Rather, it is his constant off-field trouble that they have simply had enough of as they attempt to improve the professionalism in the club ahead of their most serious tilt for the Champions League yet.
Aurier’s list of indiscretions is lengthy, though the nightclub assault is the first occasion he has transgressed national law.
He used the first of his three behavioural strikes up when he found the spotlight following a Champions league match against Chelsea. Aurier was sidelined but branded referee Bjorn Kuipers a “dirty son of a bitch” on Facebook as PSG eliminated Chelsea in 2015 at the last-16 stage, earning him a three-match ban administered by UEFA.
The second was even more bizarre.
He and a friend, who was smoking a shisha pipe, hosted an impromptu question and answer session on Periscope after being left on the bench for a scoreless draw against Lille in February 2016. Head coach Laurent Blanc was among those slandered by the player during that strange episode, with Angel Di Maria branded a “clown” and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, then the untouchable figure of the Parc des Princes, also targeted, too.
After that incident, president Nasser Al Khelaifi said: “Paris Saint-Germain is a very strong institution and nobody can affect that. I will not allow anyone to cause difficulty for the club or distract us from our aims.”
Aurier was suspended for more than a month by the club after offering a public apology, but the nightclub incident pushed them over the edge.
This legacy of indiscipline will tarnish what was otherwise a successful stint in Paris, where he showed on the field that he is capable of making a positive impression at a big club.
Speaking to RMC in November 2016, international team-mate Kolo Toure, once of Arsenal and Liverpool, commented that he believes the player’s circle of friends have dragged him down.
“It’s a difficult mix, where there are many agents, many temptations, many friends, many influences,” he said. “Some learn sooner than others. Serge has had difficult moments away from football, but on the field, he’s a great player.
“He’s exceptional. But football is a game in which you need to remain very disciplined away from the field. Serge has made many mistakes.
“I know he continues to learn from these errors.”
Inevitably, the player’s upbringing in the community of Sevran is often cited for his troubles away from the park. One of the poorest districts in France, it is known for crime and huge unemployment rates.
“When I was young, I hung about with some shady characters,” the player admitted in an interview with So Foot. “It’s hard to avoid when you live here.”
Aurier, who moved to France to be with his mother and step father when civil war broke out in Ivory Coast in 2002, has done little to shake his reputation.
Perhaps cutting his ties with his Parisian background is what is required to allow Aurier to reach the heights he has for so long promised or perhaps Mourinho is the man to drill some discipline into him away from the field.
Either way, if he is to be a success in England, particularly at a club like Manchester United, where the scrutiny is unrelenting and intense, it is essential his behaviour improves. If by May, fans are talking purely about his footballing ability, he will surely have been a roaring success.
Source – Goal.com
Edited by aderinwaledavid