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Serge Aurier the successor to Antonio Valencia?

Thursday 20th April 2017
After a somewhat indifferent season at Old Trafford in terms of form and consistency one player has been as reliable as they come throughout. Antonio Valencia has made the right full back position his own this campaign and cemented himself as the number one choice. But with age against him who will Mourinho turn to as his long-term successor?

It's been arguably his best season for United since signing way back in 2009 originally as a right winger. However after a serious ankle break and a massive drop in confidence the Ecuadorian saw him way down the pecking order in any and all positions. This season, however, Valencia has made the right back spot is own and rendered himself virtually undroppable, but with one slight drawback. That being his age. By the time next season begins he will be 32 and despite his high form of physical fitness, he isn't the ideal age for a team that is looking to build for the future. Mourinho may well be on the hunt for a long-term successor to his ever-reliable South American in the hope that should his powers diminish with age his replacement is ready made for a smooth transition. One player touted as this potential newcomer is PSG's Serge Aurier.
An article published by the Daily Mail on Wednesday morning reports that Manchester United are in fact in talks to possibly bring the Ivorian to Old Trafford with the player very keen to join the club and in turn work with Jose Mourinho. Aurier has endured a difficult time in France in the past 10 months with a legal case against him after an alleged assault of a police officer outside a nightclub saw him given a two-month suspended prison sentence. This also resulted in him banned from entering the UK when PSG took on Arsenal in the Champions League back in November. This coupled with the form of Thomas Meunier has seen him lose his place somewhat in the side, despite being a very highly rated full back. Should the 24-year-old recapture his form and focus on his football he would no doubt be a fantastic asset to Mourinho in his quest for top honours in Manchester.

Physically the African is the carbon copy younger version of the man he would be replacing. He is strong and the peak form of an athlete with the stamina and energy to maraud up and down the right flank for the duration of the game. He also holds a strong frame much like the size Valencia possesses. He likes to get forward and his physical attributes aid where he may lack in defence and at just 24 years of age he can develop even further, especially under the tutorage of Mourinho who has mastered the growth of so many defenders in the past. The rumours omitting regarding the transfer suggest the fee would be in the region of €20million which in today's market for highly sought after defenders is actually relatively reasonable. You can't help but think that perhaps his recent misdemeanours off the pitch may have lowered his valuation somewhat, who knows.

Of course, it isn't all sunshine and rainbows if a deal is, in fact, materialising for the player. As we have mentioned he has had issues off the pitch that will need to be kept in check should he be recruited at Old Trafford. A disruptive personality in the dressing room or a player who cannot be relied upon all year round is far from what Mourinho needs at the current stage, something he has outlined himself when quizzed on possible incoming transfers. After all, the man Aurier would replace is as committed as they come when it comes to Manchester United. He shows a heart for the club that is hard to find and gets on with his job to high order with little fuss and has done so since he joined from Wigan.

Aurier may well have the tools to succeed Valencia and possibly improve the role in further in the aspect of footballing ability, but it is mentality and attitude that the Ivorian will have to keep in control should he wish to fill the shoes of his potential predecessor at The Theatre of Dreams.

Ryan Stewart

23 years old, Sport Journalism graduate living in Salford. Work in web content in Media city and always looking to break in to sports writing. Manchester United season ticket holder.

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