£38m wasted: Spurs were bled dry by “useless” flop who cost £3.4m every yellow card – opinion

In their recent state of desperation, Tottenham Hotspur is a team that has made some real howlers, with Daniel Levy frequently leading such an operation.

The businessman, who started working with the Lilywhites in 2001, has presided over one of the most trophy-less stretches in the club’s historic history, since they haven’t won anything since their League Cup victory in 2008, which was almost 25 years ago.

Such a track record is actually appalling for a company of this scale, and it does help to understand some of the 61-year-old’s naive, impulsive judgments.

The ultimate height of his folly, which appears to have now subsided with the selection of Ange Postecoglou, was when he replaced Mauricio Pochettino with Jose Mourinho and then Antonio Conte.

However, the Australian will always have to deal with these mistakes from the past, avoiding financial challenges and removing unnecessary weight in the years to come.

And yet, in spite of all the obstacles in his path, his side currently leads the Premier League standings after going undefeated. Fans throughout the nation continue to be interested in watching this incredible achievement to see how long such positivity can stay.

Who is Spurs’ worst-ever signing?

Looking back at that turbulent time, when managerial errors were undoubtedly the biggest mistakes of all, there were also a ton of transfer flops to list in that frantic attempt to go back to the top.

Nuno Espirito Santo and the other aforementioned managers received enough support, and Andre Villas-Boas even received a sizable transfer war chest as a result of the world-record sale of Gareth Bale.

Each of these regimes has a history of mistakes in the market, which is not surprising given their failure to perform at the levels anticipated.

From the beginning of these tenures, Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela stood out as two disastrous picks, while Giovani Lo Celso, Bryan Gil, and Richarlison have all underperformed despite the high sums associated with their purchase.

Pochettino may have been a superb tactician, but his handling of transfers was far from ideal. One of their worst ever purchases was paying £63 million for Tanguy Ndombele, but there have been a number of other buys that have added up to a collection of terrible deals.


Serge Aurier is one such figure from that group who ultimately cost Spurs millions while never truly finding success in north London.

In reality, despite the Ivorian full-back’s impressive 110 appearances for the team, his time there is known more for his high-profile mistakes and poor defending than for the few times he made sprints forward that resulted in a total of 25 goal contributions.

After all, journalist Buchi Laba wrote in March: “This Serge Aurier is a useless right back.”

This undoubtedly validates the idea put forth while he was for Tottenham, as Rio Ferdinand brazenly stated: “As a defender I have never really rated Aurier. He is hasty and has frequently let his squad down.


Aurier would only make 19 Premier League starts in his final season before departing a year early as a result of the mutual termination of their contracts, but he still committed three errors that directly led to shots and conceded a penalty.

The 30-year-old’s four years in north London, which remain a significant blight on their record, were rarely dependable and startlingly blunt in their attacks.

How much did Spurs pay for Serge Aurier?

While his production may have been incredibly underwhelming, the overall financial expense of that horrible time just served to highlight Pochettino’s actual disasterclass as he urgently tried to find a replacement for Kieran Trippier.

With outstanding passing skills and the rare ability to deliver a cross with pin-point precision, the Englishman had distinguished himself as a pivotal member of his side at right-back.

When the Lilywhites enticed Aurier away from Paris Saint-Germain and paid £23 million to save the talented exile from France, it appeared that they had thus secured his succession.

But maybe they should have listened to Laurent Blanc’s advice, who said the following when the young full-back made fun of him and criticized the team on social media: “How was my response? Very poorly. Very poorly. Because this is a democracy and we are all allowed to think what we want and express our beliefs, but that boy… I promised myself two years ago that I would bring him to Paris, so to see what I witnessed yesterday… is that the gratitude I receive? It is pathetic.

What did Serge Aurier earn?

Such a sum would only begin to touch the surface of what Aurier would ultimately cost Spurs; an equally high salary for someone so young would represent a significant act of trust in a person who was far from a sure thing.


How much did Serge Aurier cost…
Per Appearance          £340k
Per Goal           £4.75m
Per Assist          £2.23m
Per Yellow Card            £3.4m
Stats via Transfermarkt

His initial £80k per week salary, and even the £70k per week agreement it was lowered to after the first year, were tragically wasted since, as it turned out, he was a failure.

The current Nottingham Forest failure would cost the team £38 million in total, adding his transfer fee and four years’ worth of pay. This works out to £3.4 million for each yellow card he gets over that time (11).

Did Serge Aurier deserve to earn £70k-per-week?

Given everything that has been said so far, it is very obvious that Aurier was not worth what he was paid.

Aurier is perhaps one of the biggest liabilities in Premier League football, and he is a player who might put you off management with the amount of crazy decisions he makes, according to former Liverpool great Jamie Carragher, who launched a scathing rant on the 5 foot 9 flop back in 2021.

“We know what happened with the goal, he ends up running off the pitch allowing Sterling – the worst thing you can do – on that right foot almost get the goal.”



To make matters worse, according to Capology, Aurier was actually the fifth-highest-paid player in England during his first season there, with only superstars like Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, Hugo Lloris, and Jan Vertonghen earning more.

In contrast to their importance, players like Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele, Toby Alderweireld, and Christian Eriksen were all paid less than a liability who was unable to even make the team.

His on-field contributions were consistently lackluster, but the truly notable failure of this endeavor was the financial burden his presence inflicted on Levy.

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