Aston Villa and Newcastle tracking £6m Arsenal target Serge Aurier
Versatile Ivory Coast international defender Serge Aurier has emerged as a target for Premier League pair Aston Villa and Newcastle United, as well as odds-on 4/9 FA Cup favourites Arsenal.
According to tabloid rumours, attacking Toulouse right back Aurier, 21, who can also operate at centre half, wants to quit the French club – where he is under contract until 2018 – in the summer. He is reportedly valued at around £6m.
Toulouse are comfortably mid-table in Ligue 1, but are 10 points off the European places with seven games left. Aurier has scored five goals and made seven assists in the league from a wingback berth, as manager Alain Casanova plays with a back three.
Villa manager Paul Lambert is looking to reinforce the right-sided full back spot following claims he fell out with Matthew Lowton. The West Midlands outfit have often deployed Dutchman Leandro Bacuna in this position this term, but he is the club’s second top-scorer behind Christian Benteke, so is more valuable further forward.
Newcastle, meanwhile, are believed to be bracing themselves for a summer bid from 11/1 Champions League chances PSG for their first-choice right back Mathieu Debuchy. Alan Pardew saw former director of football Joe Kinnear sell playmaker Yohan Cabaye to the French champions in January.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger targeted Aurier because Bacary Sagna is out of contract at the Emirates at the end of the season. The France defender is understood to want a three-year deal from Arsenal, but that would go against the club’s policy of only offering one-year contracts to players over the age of 30.
Aurier and Toulouse teammate Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro are both set to go to the World Cup this summer with their country. The Ivory Coast have been drawn in Group C with pool favourites Colombia, Greece and Japan, and are even-money to qualify for the knockout phase.