Serge Aurier Signs With Tottenham, Puts Troubled Past Behind Him
Former right-back with Paris Saint-Germain Serge Aurier completed a deal with the Tottenham Hotspurs on Wednesday after signing a six-year contract worth £23 million, or about $27 million.
The deal went through after the 24-year-old was cleared by the French courts to submit a normal work permit application, according to ESPN. Aurier had to go through the courts because of a criminal conviction he received after assaulting a police officer outside of a Paris nightclub in May 2016. The conviction was downgraded on Wednesday.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 31, 2017
“This is a huge and exciting opportunity at a massive football club and I am determined to prove myself as a professional both on and off the pitch,” Aurier said in a statement released by the club.
The assault on the police officer wasn’t the only time the player from the Ivory Coast has found himself in hot water in recent years.
During a live stream online, Aurier insulted several players and used a gay-slur against his coach Laurent Blanc. The club forced him to apologize, which he promptly did.
Continuing in his statement about signing with Tottenham, Aurier said, “This is a fresh start for me and I will do everything to make the Spurs fan base, which is huge and diverse, proud of me. The fans are the most important people at any club and I am looking forward to showing them and everyone at Spurs the real Serge Aurier.”
The official Tottenham LGBT supporters’ association, the Proud Lilywhites, released a statement on Aurier concerning his former use of gay slurs.
“We were initially unhappy with the signing, but given our positive dialogue with the Club we would like to use this as an opportunity to build bridges and make lasting change,” the group wrote.
They continued, “We all love this game and we want to win matches and trophies, but not at any cost. Homophobic language, when unchallenged, can have consequences: we have to be the change we want to see. Making change, player by player, even fan by fan if necessary, is why we’re here and we won’t rest until we’ve don’t it.”
“Welcome to the famous Tottenham Hotspur Serge, we look forward to you getting to know us,” the group concluded.
Tottenham’s next match comes on September 9, when the Hotspurs play Everton.