Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle for a reported £12million. The France fullback arrives at the Emirates to replace Bacary Sagna, who has joined Manchester City on a free transfer after eight years at the Gunners.
Manager Arsene Wenger described Debuchy as ‘perfect’ to suit the role of replacing Sagna in the Gunners’ back-line. But his comments on the 28-year-old, along with the previous signing of Alexis Sanchez, reveals what it looks as though the Arsenal boss has been intent on adding to his team most this summer: pace.
"The obvious replacement for Sagna was Debuchy. He knows what to expect and that's of course a huge advantage," Wenger said on Arsenal Player.
"Debuchy is very good going forward, is very quick in transition. He is sharp in his marking, good with interceptions and quick to go from defence to attack.”
"You feel he always has the desire to go forward, so I believe he will be perfectly suited to our style in that aspect," he added.
Whilst Sagna is not exactly a slow coach, Debuchy is the faster of the two players and, some four years his compatriot's junior, Debuchy should have the legs to contribute more going forward than his elder colleague.
This addition of pace going forward is becoming a trend this summer at Arsenal. The signing of Alexis Sanchez and even the club’s reported pursuit of Loic Remy suggests the Gunners are going to be exploiting pace on a more regular basis next term. Without Theo Walcott, who was out injured for half of the campaign last term, the North Londoners did seem to lack that energy and the space it creates going forward.
Olivier Giroud is not a striker who can rely on pace and the majority of Arsenal’s midfielders are average for the Premier League in terms of their speed. Kieran Gibbs is, however, a very fast fullback and it will likely add balance to the Gunners’ back-line, especially as the fullbacks power forward towards the byline to have Debuchy’s speed on board.
Per Mertesacker is known for being one of the slowest members of the team, but his composure and reading of the game oftentimes counter-acts that. And yet on occasions where the Gunners’ high line can be exploited by a ball over the top onto a pacey opposition forward, Debuchy will enhance the defence’s ability to cope with that scenario.