Paris Saint-Germain are set to complete the loan signing of rampant Toulouse right-back Serge Aurier. The Cote d'Ivoire star, previously linked with a move to Arsenal, progressed through a medical with the Ligue 1 champions on Wednesday, according to Jonathan Johnson of ESPN FC:
Johnson also indicates the weight of UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules—guidelines that have already stung PSG—ensures a permanent transfer isn't possible:
Aurier loan as good as confirms that PSG have been severely limited by FFP sanctions. Makes buying Angel Di Maria highly unlikely.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) July 23, 2014
Aurier will become Laurent Blanc's second signing of the summer after the French boss confirmed a £50 million deal to bring David Luiz in from Chelsea. At 21 years old, the exciting Ivorian has proven his quality both in the domestic division and at the World Cup, where he recently shone for a wholly average Elephants line-up.
He may have also jumped the gun when announcing his move, as noted by Get French Football:
The 2013-14 campaign represented a prolific year for Aurier, who notched an impressive six goals and six assists from the back. He was Toulouse's third-best scorer on their way to ninth, sitting behind forwards Martin Braithwaite (seven goals, seven assists) and Wissam Ben Yedder (16 goals, five assists) in terms of production.
Blessed with frightening pace and powerful dribbling skills, Aurier is extremely difficult to knock off the ball. He averaged an impressive 1.1 accurate crosses each game and was involved in 26 percent of his side's 46 goals last season.
His stats trump those of Christophe Jallet and Gregory van der Wiel, who battled for PSG's right-back spot last season. The former failed to produce any significant attacking input, while Van der Wiel posted four assists.
Jallet is on the verge of heading to Marseille, as per Johnson:
Aurier's energy ensures he is involved with many phases of play. He made an average of 2.8 tackles and 2.2 interceptions per game last campaign—numbers which underline his ability to carry out all duties.
Blanc is certainly creating a flamboyant defence at the Parc des Princes. Aurier and Luiz love to get forward, sometimes at the expense of their team's safety, leaving the back line exposed.
This was rather prominent during Luiz's World Cup woes with Brazil, when he selfishly bombed up the pitch to try and gain hero status in front of the home fans. Thiago Silva couldn't control the charismatic player during the tournament and will hope Blanc can instill greater discipline, particularly if Aurier is to reach his attacking potential down the right.
The youngster should be given greater room to express himself in the capital. This is extremely important while his qualities continue to improve, as when fully honed, Aurier has the potential to be world class. It was encouraging to see him produce two assists at the World Cup, where he contributed to 50 percent of his nation's goals.
Will Serge Aurier prove to be a star with Paris Saint-Germain?
Aurier's versatility will also hold him in good stead at PSG. He may be asked to fill in on either side of defence, through the centre and perhaps even on the right wing. Blanc has many tactical options covered with Aurier's arrival and can make the deal permanent when PSG's financial restrictions are loosened by UEFA.
PSG stormed to the title by nine points last season and will be encouraged to see James Rodriguez leave nearest rivals Monaco in favour of Real Madrid, as per Simon Rice of The Independent. The champions continue to get stronger with the signing of Aurier, a frightening prospect for the rest of the league.
Stats via WhoScored unless otherwise noted.