Tottenham have completed the £23 million signing of Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier from Paris Saint-Germain.
Aurier, 24, has signed a contract until 2022 after he was granted clearance by the Home Office.
On Wednesday, the right-back was told that the French courts had downgraded the criminal conviction he received for assaulting a police officer last year, allowing him to successfully submit a normal work permit application.
“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.”
A message on PSG’s website read: “Paris Saint-Germain thanks Serge for the fighting spirit he always showed in the red-and-blue shirt and wishes him all the very best for the new challenges that await him at his new club in London.”
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 31, 2017
Spurs have been in the market for a new right-back after selling Kyle Walker to Manchester City for a deal worth up to £50m in July, and Aurier follows centre-back Davinson Sanchez, goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga and defender Juan Foyth in making the move to North London this summer.
Aurier joined PSG, initially on loan, from Toulouse in 2014 and he has made 54 Ligue 1 appearances in three seasons with the French club, while he has 41 caps for his country.
However, the signing is not without controversy. In November, he was barred from entering the UK for PSG’s Champions League game at Arsenal following a late decision by the Home Office, with PSG condemning it as “incomprehensible” and a “flagrant lack of respect for the club.”
In May 2016, Aurier was arrested in Paris for assaulting a police officer outside a nightclub.
He was convicted of assault in September 2016, now downgraded by the courts, and given a two-month “convertible” prison sentence, which his lawyers have argued he will never have to serve, a €600 fine and a €1,500 damages bill. Aurier maintains his innocence and has appealed.
He was also forced to apologise after using an anti-gay slur against former PSG coach Laurent Blanc while using Facebook Live.
Proud Lilywhites, the official Tottenhem LGBT supporters’ association, issued a statement following the signing.
It read: “A number of LGBT+ and ally fans, bloggers and media have asked us for comment on the signing of Serge Aurier given his well-publicised history.
“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.”
It added: “This is a journey — we don’t want to recriminate. One of our main tools for change is education, so we’d like to see engagement with LGBT+ fans is at the top of Serge’s list. We’ve already done great work with Stewards, Club staff and fans and look forward to working with the Club and other supporters, to show Serge Aurier that Spurs fans are incredibly diverse, welcoming and loyal.
“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 done it.
“Welcome to the famous Tottenham Hotspur Serge, we look forward to you getting to know us.”
Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.