Born in Ouragahio, a small town in south-central Ivory Coast, life in the football fast lane must have seemed a million miles away. Serge left for Sevran, Paris at a young age. That’s where his life changed - where his talent was spotted by Ligue 1 side Lens, aged 12.
Twelve years later, he’s here at Spurs with the reputation as one of the best full-backs around. He moved from Lens to Toulouse – where he was team-mates with Moussa Sissoko – and then Paris St Germain, where he won two Ligue 1 titles, three French Cups, three French League Cups, four French Super Cups and was twice named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year.
He already has 41 caps to his name for Ivory Coast, played in the 2014 World Cup and won the 2015 African Cup of Nations, where he was named in the Team of the Tournament.
And now to that new chapter…
“I’m happy to sign here, it’s a big Club in England,” said Serge ahead of training on Friday. “I’m very excited to start (with the team) on Saturday.
“Tottenham is a good Club. I’m happy with my choice. It’s very important for me because the coach, the Club, the attitude is very good.
“For me, Paris is (in the) past now and it’s all new - new life, new story, new country! I come to Tottenham to play football. I’m happy to be here. For me, it’s all good. I’m excited for the start of the games.”
Back home, he played football every day. “Football is a religion in Africa,” he said. “My family loves football. My brother (Christopher) played with me in Lens. For me, football is my life.
“It is my hobby, my favourite hobby. In England, everyone likes football and for me, that’s very important. Football is my life.
Lens was the big breakthrough in terms of football and life. “I went to Lens when I was 12, very young. It was a big moment for me. In Paris, we didn’t have money, we were not rich. Lens was a big chance for me. They are very important in my story.”
Finally, his hopes for the season. "I’m happy to be here. I have good friends. The team (has) big, big character and is at a big moment. I will enjoy every day."