By now you’ve seen the video. After Paris Saint-Germain and Lille played to a scoreless draw, Serge Aurier went on Periscope, a social media app that allows users to broadcast live video to the world, and proceeded to disparage his teammates and manager Laurent Blanc. This is the last thing any PSG supporter wanted to be talking about ahead of the the UEFA Champions League matchup with Chelsea on Tuesday but myself, along with a few of our writers, wanted to share our opinions on the situation.
Daniel: I was planning on writing an article that would sum up how superb Serge Aurier has been for Paris Saint-Germain this season before his recent public showing of stupidity sent a season’s worth of effort down the drain. Just when you thought everything was going right for Paris, with the squad fully fit for the first time in a while, particularly heading into what Javier Pastore rightly described as the beginning of the season with the Champions League knockout stages looming, this new episode of drama pops up. Aurier is by far my favorite player on the team. I love the zeal and vigor he displays on the pitch but seeing the translated subtitles of the video weakened me on a personal level. Insults to so many key players and especially to the manager is wrong on every level.
If he still has a future at PSG, I can’t really say as there are many people involved in that decision but I do know his actions will carry heavy consequences. I’m usually up for the drama but this is downright extreme and probably worse than all of Adrien Rabiot’s tantrums combined. It will be difficult for him to clear the air in the dressing room after this—especially with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Paris has done well not to take any rash decisions in my opinion. His suspension from the team is the best they can do at this point. The Ivorian still remains one of the best players at his position in all of Europe and it will be wise for PSG to find a way to mend feelings before resolving to sell or flat out sack him as there will be no shortage of clubs lining up to steal Aurier on a free. I have a lot of bias towards Aurier and replacing him will not be an easy task. I hope Blanc’s excellent man-management skills can somehow help bring the Ivorian from this predicament.
Dave: Initial reactions around the world must have been shock, surely. Serge Aurier has proven before that he cannot be trusted with social media, having ruled himself out of contention versus Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals last year via a profanity-laden tirade on his Instagram (the aptly-titled “thecrazychild93”). Yet that was so much less alarming. Stupid, yes, but the young right back showed a bit of passion, a bit of fire. Certainly some fans reflected his thoughts regarding Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s red card.
Where is that loyalty now? Where has the professionalism gone? This vapid, pointless controversy created from absolutely nothing is a knife in the back of his own club. Aurier is nothing short of a key player, and certainly, if not now, a future top five right back in the world. His play has elevated to a new level as of late, raising his standards further, but Paris fans will recall a poor start to his then-loan move from Toulouse. It was only after the triumph with his native Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations, and a brief subsequent injury layoff, that Aurier truly began to shine. He has displaced Marquinhos and Gregory Van der Wiel by merit. A few days ago, he was to be a lynchpin in the Parisian attack.
“…two years ago I committed myself to make him [Aurier] come to Paris and I think what I saw yesterday that’s all the thank you I got. I think that’s pitiful”—Laurent Blanc
This breach of trust is not only treason against Laurent Blanc, it’s an attack on the dressing room. Surely the manager, who has recently extended his time in Paris, will feel personally hurt by this entire affair. As his recent comments reflect, a man who not only made Aurier a primary target but gave him every chance to improve, a man very much responsible for the Ivorian’s development, is well within his rights to be betrayed in this situation.
The sanctions levied against Aurier are surely temporary. There will be harsh words and probations, but the club has an objective and truthfully, in three years’ time Layvin Kurzawa and Aurier—themselves good friends—could be the best full-back pairing in Europe. That will be the club’s perspective, although pending Champions League performances, Aurier may not play again this season (perhaps youngster Alec Georgen might get a run-out?). The Ivorian’s real fate lies in the dressing room. One cannot tell how it must feel to be Gregory van der Wiel, who has surely been working day-by-day to reclaim his spot, now publicly humiliated by the man who took the starter position from him. The rest of the team must be disappointed and disgusted with their teammate and only time will tell if that can be remedied. If the internal problems are not reconcilable, then surely Paris must send Serge on his way. Potentially the most pathetic of endings to what could have been a legendary career here.
Ed: When the Serge Aurier news broke I was on Twitter stating that I thought he should be severely fined and apologize but in no way should Paris Saint-Germain look to sell or release him. Others disagreed and believe there is no coming back from his comments, especially those aimed at Laurent Blanc, but I stand by my initial thoughts.
Serge Aurier is a top 5 RB in Europe. I can’t see #PSG terminating his contract/benching him. Heavy fine and public apology.
— PSG Talk (@PSGTalk) February 14, 2016
Paris Saint-Germain is a business and Aurier is an asset—a highly prized one at that. To let a player of his caliber leave on a free to a European competitor would be foolish as would selling him at a reduced price (teams would lowball PSG knowing they have to sell).
Aurier is 23-years-old and I would hope the veterans in the locker room would be able to understand that young people, especially on social media, do and say stupid things. I would also hope they understand that their chances to lift the Champions League trophy increase dramatically if Aurier is on the pitch. This could very well be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last chance to achieve European glory and I believe he would come across brilliantly if he put his arm around Aurier and brought the team together instead of contributing to its collapse—similar to the way Mike Vick did for Riley Cooper when a video revealed the NFL wide receiver using a racial slur at a concert.
If there really is no coming back from his comments and PSG decide to move the right back to another club, supporters will forever wonder what Aurier’s career could have been at the Parc des Princes if not for a silly social media rant. A truly sad way to be remembered in my opinion.
What do you think of the situation? Do you think Aurier has a future at PSG? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @PSGTalk.