On Friday, Arsene Wenger signed a new three-year deal with Arsenal that will keep him at the club until 2017.
It is one that will ensure his love affair with the club will last an incredible twenty years; years which have been – and will be – filled with intoxicating highs and devastating lows.
One defining characteristic of his tenure as manager has been his eye for unearthing cheap, quality players from the French leagues and turning them into stars at Arsenal. Yaya Sanogo, Bacary Sagna and Lauren Koscielny are just a few of Arsene’s fairly recent acquisitions from the top football divisions in France.
So, as a celebration of Wenger’s transfer market favouritism, I’ve compiled a list of the five players I think we should target from Ligue 1 in the summer transfer window, in an effort to find Arsene’s next pièce de résistance:
1 – Serge Aurier – Right Back
The first player on our list is looking more and more likely as a dead cert to join up with the squad this summer with each passing day.
Heavily linked with Arsenal after the rumours of Bacary Sagna’s departure began – Serge Aurier would be an excellent replacement for our experienced French defender.
34 appearances, 6 goals, 6 assists, and 6 Man of the Match awards for Toulouse earned him a place in this seasons Ligue 1 Team of the Year – an incredible achievement for the 21-year-old.
Aurier’s style fits Arsenal like a charm too. Not one for cementing his feet in his side’s own half – Serge loves to bomb forward and create chances for his team-mates.
Short, quick passes are his bread and butter, and the Ivory Coast born defender prefers to use them to make his way up the pitch rather than sprinting forward and hoping the ball finds his feet. He also possess the ability to provide swift and accurate early crosses, as well as deadly through balls when he find himself in more central positions – something which, bizarrely, happens quite often when he thinks his team are on the front foot.
Although he was valued at £8-10 million before Toulouse finished up for the summer, his inclusion in their league’s team of the year might have added a few extra pounds onto that valuation. However, the player is an avid Gooner, and his desire to join up with Wenger’s squad might give us the bargaining power required to snap him up for around £10 million.