Arsenal may be set to land Newcastle's Mathieu Debuchy, but Ivorian starlet Serge Aurier is still being linked with a move to London. And while the youngster insists no deal has yet been made, bringing Aurier to London despite the presence of Debuchy would still be a smart move for Arsene Wenger.
Currently playing for Toulouse, the right-back impressed during the 2014 World Cup and has been linked with Arsenal for months. Speaking to Foot Mercato (h/t to Goal's Harry Sherlock), Aurier made it clear he had not agreed to a move to Arsenal just yet, though he did admit he still dreams of playing in the Premier League:
I've been told that I had already signed with Arsenal. That is not true.
All I can say is that the Premier League is the league I enjoy the most. Things are clear. I've always given my preference to England. But I've not given any sort of agreement to anyone. So I'm free to discuss with any club.
To play in England is a dream, but sometimes, dreams do not come true. So if PSG or Monaco are interested, I can't neglect them. They should see my people and we'll see from there. If ever a transfer occurs, I want a club that can guarantee me playing time.
As reported by Sherlock, the Gunners have all but wrapped up a deal for French international Debuchy, eliminating the need for a starting right-back to replace Bacary Sagna.
Aurier pushed his transfer fee through the roof with his strong performances in Brazil, and Arsenal were not expected to invest in both Debuchy and Aurier, knowing only one of them would likely play at a time.
But that doesn't mean they shouldn't look into the possibility. Aurier and Debuchy are very different players, and given their age difference, bringing in both an immediate starter and long-term project could be very beneficial for the team.
Debuchy is a natural replacement for the departing Sagna. He's the one keeping his compatriot out of France's starting XI, and like Sagna, he's a defence-first type player who won't make many mistakes close to his own box.
That doesn't mean Debuchy won't contribute offensively—rather, he's a safe option with Premier League experience, and the transition from Sagna to him should be seamless.
On the other hand, Aurier is a raw, physically gifted youngster who lacks experience on any level, but his offensive potential can't be denied. His two assists against Japan were vital for Ivory Coast during the 2014 World Cup, and both came as a result of his great athleticism and crossing ability.
Aurier would add a vertical element to the team the Gunners never had when Sagna was manning the right wing, and his ability to contribute on the offensive end would complement Debuchy's defensive prowess beautifully.
The latter is 28 years old, and in the prime of his career. Aurier is a 21-year-old with limited experience even in the Ligue 1, let alone a level as high as the Premier League.
Sure, it's entirely possible the youngster could come in and immediately contribute on a top team like Arsenal. But growing pains and the occasional lapse in judgement are far more plausible, and it's something a top team like Arsenal would rather avoid.
With Debuchy in the fold, it would allow the Gunners to bring Aurier along slowly. Loan him back to Toulouse for a season or let him play in some of the cup matches, while he gets to learn from the French international and adapts to the high pace of the English game.
You can never have too many quality full-backs, a position that has seen a rapid growth in importance as more and more teams are using their wide men to press forward and provide cover simultaneously.
Aurier fits the profile, and with a few years of learning and growing under his belt, he could be one of the very best at it. But as of right now, it makes sense to let him sit behind Debuchy, even if it means spending for two right-backs.
Debuchy could be the team's present—Aurier could be the team's future. If Wenger believes in the youngster's potential, there's no reason not to make a deal for another full-back this summer.