Manchester United have had major issues with their defense this season, suffering from major injuries and ineffectiveness from certain players. Left-back Luke Shaw has failed to impress, being called out for his lack of committment. Also, defenders Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, and Chris Smalling have spent a major part of the season injured. As a result, United has resorted to playing wingers Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia as full-backs, a position of major need.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe via Metro, United has signed the first defensive reinforcement for next season as Paris-Saint Germain defender Serge Aurier has verbally agreed to join United after talking with manager Jose Mourinho. Aurier, who normally plays right-back for PSG is considered one of the top players for his position and at only 24, he would be a long-term replacement for the incumbent Valencia. Aurier is already familiar with a couple of player on the United roster as he was teammates with Zlatan Ibrahimovic during their time in Paris and Bailly is his defensive partner on the Ivory Coast national team, a partnership with a lot of potential.
The signing would mean Valencia would be pushed back to the midfield or the bench and almost guarantee Matteo Darmian’s exit in the summer. Reports from France say that PSG will ask for a £16 million transfer fee from United although the exact terms have not been confirmed yet.
Despite his defensive prowess, Aurier does come with a fair bit of baggage. Earlier this season, he was denied a UK visa for PSG’s Champions League match against Arsenal after being found guilty of assaulting a police officer outside a Parisian nightclub. Aurier currently is free pending an appeal and PSG says that he should be pursued based on that. He was also demoted to the reserves last season after a video was released where he insulted teammates Angel Di Maria and Ibrahimovic along with calling then-manager Laurent Blanc a homophobic slur.