Tottenham’s new signing Serge Aurier has pledged to prove his worth on and off the pitch after completing a £23 million move from Paris St Germain.
Aurier has agreed a five-year contract at White Hart Lane but his arrival is not without controversy given the Ivorian’s recent record of misdemeanours.
Last year, the 24-year-old was handed a suspended sentence for assaulting a police officer outside a nightclub in Paris.
The conviction made obtaining a work permit this week more complicated and prevented him from entering the United Kingdom in November, when PSG played Arsenal in the Champions League.
Aurier was also suspended by PSG in March last year after he directed homophobic language towards his manager Laurent Blanc during an online question and answer session.
He admitted on Thursday he was looking forward to a “fresh start” in England.
“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.
“This is a fresh start for me and I will do everything to make the Spurs fanbase, 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 LGBT Association of Tottenham Hotspur, representing the club’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters, said in a statement they were “initially unhappy” with the prospect of Spurs signing Aurier but “would like to use this as an opportunity to build bridges and make lasting change”.
The group are due to hold the second of two annual consultations with the club in 10 days’ time and co-chair Chris Paouros told Press Association Sport they plan to propose Aurier meets with some of their members.
“We would like to see Serge engaging with the LGBT fans at Spurs,” Paouros said. “Meeting some of our members should be high on his to-do list. It would send out a really positive message.”
Aurier is Tottenham’s fourth arrival of the summer, following Juan Foyth, Davinson Sanchez and Paulo Gazzaniga in joining Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
He has represented the Ivory Coast 40 times and is viewed as a direct replacement for Kyle Walker, who was sold to Manchester City for a fee rising to £55million earlier this summer.
Aurier started out at French club Lens before moving to Toulouse in January 2012, where his performances earned him a place in the 2013-14 Ligue 1 Team of the Year and a summer move to PSG.
Making the switch permanent in 2015, Aurier won two league titles at the Parc des Princes as well as three French Cups and four French League Cups.
He was selected in the 2015 African Nations Cup Team of the Tournament when the Ivory Coast were crowned champions.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 31, 2017
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