Jose Mourinho has claimed that the arrival of Matt Doherty at Tottenham Hotspur was in no way meant to signal the end of Serge Aurier’s time at the club.
Doherty arrived from Wolverhampton Wanderers last month for £15million with the Republic of Ireland international penning a four-year deal (Evening Standard).
Reports had earlier claimed that Aurier had snubbed the opportunity to move to Wolves as part of a proposed deal to bring Doherty to North London with the Ivorian instead keen on a move to Italian giants AC Milan (The Daily Star).
Aurier became Tottenham’s first choice right-back under Mourinho following his arrival in November and competition for places was practically non-existent after Kyle Walker-Peters headed to Southampton on loan during the January transfer window.
Mourinho claimed that Aurier has not asked to leave the club and hopes that the former PSG player embraces the battle for the right-back position with Doherty.
“When we bought Matt it was not to sell Serge. When we got Matt it was to strengthen the squad and to have more options,” Mourinho told Football.London.
“It was not to be in a very difficult situation like last season where Serge was playing all the time, and even in the worst possible circumstances when he had that very sad situation in his family. Even then he had to play and made that incredible effort to play.
“So for me it is not to buy one to sell another one, but of course the market is open and the players have the right to express themselves and to try to be happy and if one day Serge comes to us and a situation that he would prefer I think we would speak with him.
“Mr Levy would speak with him, but the reason why we got Doherty was to improve the squad and not to sell Serge. If you ask me directly journalist to coach do you want to sell? No I don’t.”
When quizzed on whether Aurier had held a meeting with him to ask to leave, Mourinho added: “I don’t, I don’t, I had a meeting with the players a couple of days ago when everyone arrived and I did not speak specifically to Serge. I spoke to everybody.
“I told them that I want a squad, I want a better squad than last season and every player belongs to the squad. My desire for them as a coach is for them to stay.
“At the same time I told them what is obvious, top clubs, big clubs, clubs with ambitions, have lots of good players. So if you are this kind of personality that you cannot cope with this challenge with this level of internal competition and then you are not happy then it is better to go.
“In Serge’s case he was at PSG and they have an incredible squad and he was there at the same time as some other fantastic players for his position and he coped with it without any problems.
“So I think Serge is the kind of personality he does not turn his back to a challenge and to have in the same squad and position a player of Doherty’s quality.
“I think for Serge it will be a challenge to enjoy and for me as a coach would be a privileged situation to have two strong right-backs.”
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