According to reports in France today Mathieu Debuchy is set to join Arsenal imminently. The 28 year-old is currently on international duty with the French side, where he is seen as the first choice right-back ahead of Bacary Sagna.
It is believed that Debuchy has wanted to leave newcastle for a while now, and whilst his signature wouldn’t be the big name player Arsenal fans have been asking for, he could still do a very good job. Bacary Sagna is of course a very hard act to follow, and with a shortage of top quality right-backs in the game at the moment it is hard to see where a ready-made upgrade will be found. Debuchy is probably one of the only players that would be close to fitting this bill.
Didier Deschamps, the French coach, considers Debuchy to be his first-choice right-back and looking at the stats from last season you can see why. Debuchy fares better than Sagna in the average number of tackles won per game ( 2.45 to 1.29), average aerial duels won per game ( 3.83 to 3.40), average blocks per game (0.41 to 0.20) and average interceptions per game (2.38 to 1.46). Stats don’t tell the full story, and it’s reasonable to argue that Debuchy was playing in a worse side, thus suggesting why his stats are better than Sagna. However though it is also obvious that Debuchy is a very good defender in his own right and performs his duties admirably in one of the hardest divisions in the world.
The former Lille right-back turns 29 next month and has an adequate amount of experience behind him to come in and fill the void left by Sagna. Carl Jenkinson isn’t quite ready to play consistently in the first-team yet, and whilst it would have been nice to see Serge Aurier come in, he also lacks experience at the highest level and is often found out defensively. Debuchy is a player coming into his prime and would be able to give Arsenal good service for the foreseeable future. His arrival would also give Carl Jenkinson the opportunity to work under an assured player and hopefully develop him into a better professional, so that when the time is right he can step in and be the long-term replacement for Debuchy.
As I said previously there is currently a lack of top quality right-backs in the game and Debuchy would make a more than adequate replacement for Sagna. Defensively he is sound and attacking wise he can also produce, having created 23 chances for his Newcastle team-mates last season. Debuchy has longed to fulfil his ambition of playing in the Champions League, and at such a relatively cheap price to attain his services (believed to be between £7 million and £12 million) the signing seems to be a no brainer.
This won’t be Arsenal’s most exciting signing of the summer but could prove to be a very important one if it goes ahead. At such a cheap price for a player coming into his prime it could potentially be a steal, especially considering that there are few right-backs of true class available at the moment.