Journalist Claims Serge Aurier 'Agrees' Deal With Man Utd But Various Complications Remain
Manchester United have 'agreed' a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier - at least, that is according to French journalist Loic Tanzi.
Tanzi claimed on Twitter on Thursday that an agreement over a five-year contract is in place between Aurier and United, with the deal now dependent on a suitable transfer fee being negotiated with PSG and the player being granted a work permit.
Given his criminal conviction for assaulting a police officer, an appeal for which is being heard this month, that last part certainly may be difficult to achieve. Aurier was prevented from entering the country for a Champions League game against Arsenal last season and acquiring the visa documentation to allow him to live and work in the UK may prove problematic.
However, there are also other red flags surrounding the latest update.
Tanzi isn't the first to claim at a deal with United has been 'agreed' this summer. A story emerged from 'Paris United' at the end of July claiming similar after alleged talks between Aurier's agent, Stephane Courbis, and Mino Raiola, a man well-versed in taking players to Old Trafford.
Yet in between Tanzi's claims and Paris United's claims, Sky Sports put out a story last week explaining that their Old Trafford sources had informed them that no deal has been agreed and that United are not actually interested in Aurier at all.
Beyond the obvious visa complications, the 'no interest' angle is supported by the fact that United boss Jose Mourinho only targeted four signings this summer - three have arrived and it is well established that a winger or similar attacking player, not a defender, is wanted as the fourth.
Antonio Valencia, occasional captain, is firmly a Mourinho favourite and is well established at right-back after a fine 2016/17 and a strong pre-season. Matteo Darmian is a squad asset, while Mourinho has also shown faith in emerging talent Axel Tuanzebe, whose immediate path to the first-team is most likely to be at right-back rather than in his preferred central role.
Given the context, it seems entirely plausible that the Aurier claims have little actual substance and are born out of the increasingly common tactics employed by agents in the transfer market where false details or twisted truths are fed to media outlets to create hype around their client.
It is not necessarily the intention to coax the named club into making a genuine offer, but an attempt to smoke out another potential suitor who will. In such cases, United are an easy target and have experienced it before in the endless rumours that made up the multi-year Nico Gaitan saga. More recently, it was the speculation surrounding James Rodriguez.
It means that any claims of Serge Aurier heading to Manchester United now and in the next few weeks really ought to be consumed with a good sized pinch of salt.