With Glen Johnson’s performances often found to be below par last season, Gunnar Lemmermann looks into the possibility of Liverpool turning their attention to Toulouse’s Serge Aurier.
The 21-year-old, 5ft 9 inch and 168-pound Ivorian international has also been linked with Arsenal but a deal is still not done and reports emerged that Liverpool could try to hijack the North London club’s move for the right back.
Aurier came through the youth ranks at Lens in France and made 47 appearances for the french side. He made the switch to Toulouse in 2012 and has gone on to play 70 games and scoring 7 goals for the French outfit. Aurier has a very extensive playing style and he is very versatile. He can play as a right back in a 4-4-2, centre back in a 3-5-2 and at right wing-back.
Style of Play
Aurier reads the game very well, he has great vision and an excellent footballing brain which leads him to being in the right place at the right time. Being used in a 3-5-2 for Toulouse, he joins the attack when he has space but he doesn’t just drive forward on every opportunity.
His dribbling is superb, although he tends to hold on to the ball a little too often which results in him dribbling his way along the byline instead of passing it to one of his team mates. Something that can easily be coached into a 21-year old.
He is quick on his feet, can provide his team mates with great crosses and due to his physical presence he doesn’t shy away from tackles and wins interceptions and blocks much more often than not.
His heading ability gives him great advantage in defending corners but also in the opposition box, despite not being particularly tall. His versatility is something that could be an attractive trait for Brendan Rodgers to convince his transfer committee to secure his signature.
2013/14 Form Guide
Aurier had a fantastic season in Ligue 1 last year and could well be one of the breakout stars of the World Cup. Although just being 21, he has probably been the most impressive and consistent full-back in France.
Whereas calling him a full-back might not be the most accurate description of his. Being deployed as the right-sided centre-half in a 3-5-2, Aurier played 34 games for Toulouse, scored 6 goals and created 32 chances – 6 assists, 26 key passes.
Compared to Glen Johnson, who failed to score a single goal in his 28 games in the 2013/14 campaign, racking up just two assists and 26 key passes.
Stats site WhoScored named Aurier in their Ligue 1 Team of the Year as a right-winger which is purely down to his attacking threat. The goals and assists he provided last year are a remarkable tally for a player mainly regarded as a defender.
Given the amount of praise Aurier gets for his attacking talent, it could easily spring to mind he neglects his defensive duties, but this isn’t the case. He thrives in the defensive side of the game, although he is still developing and there are glimpses of a lack of concentration at times; e.g. he calls for offside, stops running and the attacker is through on goal – whereas he could just jockey alongside his opponent and intercept.
The 2013/14 campaign has been a real breakthrough season for Aurier; he has shown that he is one of the best full- or else wing-backs in France at the moment and he is more than ready for a move to a bigger club. The upcoming World Cup is the perfect stage for Aurier to demonstrate what he can do.
If Aurier plays a solid World Cup, his market value of £7 million might well be rising and Liverpool could find themselves with more competition for his signature than just Arsenal.
Should Liverpool make a move for the young Ivorian? Are any better options available? Let us know in the comments below.