Arsenal are set to complete a transfer for Toulouse's Serge Aurier, and the young Ivorian will quickly make fans forget about the departing Bacary Sagna.
Goal.com's Wayne Veysey has learned the Gunners are very close to completing a £7 million deal for the talented right-back:
Arsenal are on the brink of agreeing a £7 million deal for Toulouse defender Serge Aurier, Goal understands.
The Gunners have held extensive talks with the French club about the fee to be paid for the right-back and are close to finalising the structure of payments.
Arsenal have not yet agreed personal terms with the 21-year-old, who is preparing for the World Cup with the Ivory Coast squad.
But the London club are confident of securing the player's signature following the summer tournament.
The 21-year-old is currently preparing for the upcoming World Cup with Ivory Coast and could hold off on signing for the Gunners until the end of the tournament. But if Veysey is to be believed, a deal is all but certain.
A sensational and versatile athlete, Aurier will remind fans of Barcelona's Dani Alves. The Ivorian is very capable of contributing to the attack and will even make his mark on front of goal, as evidenced by his six goals last season, per WhoScored.com.
Aurier has also played centre-back at times for Toulouse and can fill in further up front as well, but his strongest position is that of wing-back, preferably on the right.
He's not just an offensive threat, however. Aurier also averaged 2.8 tackles and 2.2 interceptions per match, as he constantly harassed opposing attackers. The 21-year-old plays as if he has four lungs, running up and down the entire right wing as if it's nothing.
The biggest issue with his game is an over-eagerness to prove himself defensively, leading to occasional problems with his positioning and a bunch of yellow cards for fouls that are easily avoidable.
Aurier plays the game so fast he often makes plays that look violent; taking his foot off the gas just a little in certain situations would make a world of difference.
It's important to remember the player is just 21 years old, however. Patience can be taught—athleticism and offensive instincts can't.
Sagna officially revealed he was leaving Arsenal earlier this week, as shared by Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke:
In many ways, Sagna and Aurier are polar opposites. The French international is solid in every aspect of the game, but he doesn't offer much of a threat moving forward. Sagna is safe and unspectacular; Aurier is a freight train who can sometimes be the victim of his own athleticism.
But in 2014, you want that freight train out on the wing. Clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have built their offensive systems around the abilities of full-backs like Alves, Marcelo and David Alaba.
Arsenal fans would quickly fall in love with the kind of attacking threat Aurier would bring to the team, but there's one more reason why The Gunners are so eager to sign the youngster, as shared by The Highbury Clock—he loves Arsenal:
Sagna should be remembered fondly by the fans, but ultimately, the Frenchman wanted out. He wanted to move on from the Gunners, and he got his wish.
Aurier wants to be a Gunner, more than anything. He has the kind of passion for the club fans love, and combined with his exciting style of play, everything is in place for the wing-back to make everyone forget about Sagna in a hurry.
Sure, there will be some bumps and bruises along the way, but that is only natural when you're dealing with a 21-year-old defender. His ceiling and the immediate impact he will have on the club should more than make up for any mistakes, as it will for the loss of Sagna.
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