Transfer Grades: Serge Aurier's Tottenham Move is a Necessary Risk for Spurs
Serge Aurier is making his long-awaited move to the Premier League, with Tottenham Hotspur signing the Ivory Coast international from Paris Saint-Germain for a reported fee of £23 million (approximately $30 million). Aurier was thought to be one of the most likely figures to move from PSG after the club signed Dani Alves earlier in the summer, and he joins a Tottenham side with Premier League title ambitions after coming in second last season and third the season before. Here's how this move grades for all parties involved:
For Tottenham: B+
The calculus of this move actually wasn't all that complicated for Tottenham, after the club sold its first-choice right back Kyle Walker to Manchester City in a £50 million ($64 million) deal earlier this summer. They needed another first team-quality player there, and Aurier was the highest quality, readily available player on the market right now. In Aurier it gets a player three years younger than Walker, with a similar international pedigree, a similar style of play, and the club ended up making £25 million in the process. If there's a risk for Tottenham, it is Aurier's attitude. He has been suspended for airing profane criticisms of referees, his teammates and his coach on social media, and also was found guilty last year of assaulting a police officer outside a nightclub in Paris. None of these things mean that Aurier will automatically be trouble for Spurs, but it is a potential downside that keeps this from being an A-level move.
For PSG: C
Similarly to Spurs, PSG's motivation for selling Aurier isn't all that complicated. The club now has Dani Alves in the fold, and the Brazilian had already proven with Juventus that he is still among the world's best right backs. Aurier was simply surplus to requirements, and the aforementioned disciplinary incidents made him a more movable asset than he would be under other circumstances. So why such a low grade? The fee. In a world with ballooning transfer fees all over the globe, £23 million for Aurier seems somewhat reasonable. For a club that is (in theory) looking to recoup money after spending lavishly on Neymar and others, one can't help but think it could have gotten a little bit more for one of the world's best fullbacks that is just entering his prime.
For Serge Aurier: A
If you were to look up "needs a change of scenery" in the sports cliché dictionary, you might find a picture of Aurier. The arrival of Alves meant that he wasn't going to get many opportunities to play his preferred position this season, and his contentious (to say the least) history with PSG meant that not many at the club would be willing to give him a second chance anyway. Aurier needed to get away from that situation, and to a team where he could play an integral role. With Walker gone and Tottenham challenging at the top of the EPL, Aurier gets to stay with a top-class, Champions League-worthy side but get a fresh start simultaneously. Assuming he plays up to his ability and stays out of trouble, this could be a great move for him.