Grading Arsenal's £12m signing Mathieu Debuchy - should Aurier have replaced Sagna instead?

Arsenal finally agreed a deal to sign Newcastle right back Mathieu Debuchy on Thursday, but how good is the move from a Gunners point of view?

Just one week on from the blockbuster capture of Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal made their second summer signing with the arrival of French international Debuchy. The 28-year-old comes in to replace compatriot and international team mate Bacary Sagna, who left the Emirates Stadium for Manchester City earlier this summer. Debuchy was highly rated with both Lille and Newcastle, so how does his move to Arsenal grade out?


Debuchy comes in as a ready made replacement for Sagna, having already usurped him as France's first choice right back under Didier Deschamps. He is experienced, and is used to the nature of the Premier League having played for Newcastle for 18 months, which is perfect for Arsenal as they look to fill the void left by Sagna. Debuchy possesses excellent pace, energy and attacking ability, which will be welcomed in North London after his predecessor began to slow down towards the end of his time with the Gunners. He's also very capable defensively, where he's quick enough and strong enough to cope with any wingers. As far as natural replacements for Sagna go, Debuchy appears to be the perfect one, and manager Arsene Wenger made a good choice in swooping to sign the French international.


Arsenal seemingly had the chance to sign Toulouse's Serge Aurier for around the same price, and whilst Debuchy is far more ready now, Aurier is six years younger and has bags of potential. Given that Debuchy turns 29 later this month, Arsenal may only get three or four years out of him, whereas they could've had Aurier for ten. The Ivorian would need much more development and maybe that's a sign that Arsenal believe they can win the Premier League now rather than in a few years time – which is also why they spent so much on Sanchez. Debuchy was always solid for Newcastle without ever really playing a starring role, but few right backs do – and, all in all, he seems like a sound purchase for Arsenal.

Grade: B

Only time will tell whether Wenger made a mistake by choosing Debuchy over Aurier, but the Gunners may end up needing to buy another right back again in three or four years time – by which time, Aurier could easily have become one of the top right backs in Europe. Regardless, you have to take Debuchy for what he is – an athletic full back who can attack and defend well, and given that they needed a player to replace Sagna immediately, he offers the experience and knowledge of the Premier League that Aurier doesn't.

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