On Thursday evening, French international defender Mathieu Debuchy sealed his transfer to Arsenal for an undisclosed fee, reported to be worth around £12 million. There is no doubt that the London club are gaining an experienced defender, but have Arsenal paid way over the odds for a 28-year-old defender.
It was only 18 months ago that the defender moved from Lille in Ligue 1 to Newcastle United for €6.2 million, and questions must be asked to why his price has more than doubled after his time in England.
The prime of Debuchy’s career undoubtedly came at the French club. He was part of the fantastic Lille side that won an unexpected league and cup double during the 2010/11 season, and then earned himself a place in France’s starting XI for the Euro 2012 championships in Poland and Ukraine.
It’s amazing to think that Arsenal have paid £12 million for a player that has only played as a right-back for six years. His early Lille career he struggled to find his right position, playing as a utility midfielder, playing all across a five man midfield.
Rudi Garcia became coach in 2008 and moved Debuchy to right-back due to a lack of options and the move helped Lille win their first trophies since 1954.
His natural ability to attack down the right-flank was an instant success, he had to develop the defensive side, but in France it is not the important part of being a full-back, and that showed when he moved to Newcastle.
It has taken the defender time to settle in the Premier League, but Newcastle fans have been full of praise for the defender last season, but has he improved enough to justify such a fee.
Arsenal are very unlikely to ever see any of that fee ever again. The main positives for the move are said to be that Debuchy is now “tested” in the Premier League, so must be the better option than a player like Serge Aurier at Toulouse. The Ivorian would have been available for around £4 million less, and he is seven years Debuchy’s junior.
Despite Aurier’s involvement in the African Cup of Nations, the move would still have made more sense for the future of Arsenal’s defence.
Aurier has also played over 100 games in the top flight of French football. Not exactly inexperienced or raw.
Debuchy is a talented player and a very capable defender, but there is no doubt that Newcastle are on the more favourable side of this deal.