Arsenal open talks with Toulouse over Aurier move

EXCLUSIVE: The Gunners are prepared to spend £7 million on the Ivory Coast international as a replacement for unsettled right-back Bacary Sagna

Arsenal have opened preliminary talks with Toulouse over a £7 million move for defender Serge Aurier, Goal can reveal.

The Gunners have made the versatile right-back their top target to replace Bacary Sagna.

Goal revealed on Monday that Sagna has told Arsenal he is leaving when his contract expires next month and that Saturday's FA Cup final against Hull City will be his last game for the club.

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Arsenal have been closely monitoring possible Sagna replacements this season in the event that they could not agree a new deal with the 31-year-old.

Aurier has impressed Arsene Wenger's scouting team with his performances for Ligue 1 side Toulouse, who are in mid-table with one match of the season remaining.

Aurier has been a regular provider as well as scorer this season from his right-back role, weighing in with six goals and six assists in league matches alone.

The 21-year-old, who is a full Ivory Coast international, is set to feature in the World Cup this summer and is regarded as a versatile defender who can fill in at left-back and centre-back as well as his favourite right-back role.

Wenger wants deals in place for two new players before the World Cup, even if the formalities are not completed until after the event.

Aurier could now become the Gunners' first summer signing as Wenger steps up plans to strengthen his squad despite not signing his own two-year contract extension that was agreed with Arsenal last October.

Given his age, the likelihood is that Aurier will battle it out with Carl Jenkinson, 22, for a starting role at Emirates Stadium next season.

Sagna will hold talks with a number of clubs later this month, including Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.