The North Londoners sold captain and talisman Cesc Fabregas August 15th 2011 after the Spain midfielder’s eight years at the Emirates. 16 days later, into the evening on deadline day, the club closed the £10 million deal to bring in Mikel Arteta to replace his junior compatriot.
Arteta was something of a last-minute signing that was at the time described as a ‘panic’ buy by some but the then 29-year-old midfielder has since proven himself as one of Arsene Wenger’s most astute additions.
Especially considering it was during a transitional phase where the club was financially restricted and struggling to compete with their big spending rivals in the Premier League.
This summer, the Gunners are in a much more secure position financially but they have still seen one of their key players, right back Bacary Sagna, leave the club on a free transfer to join Manchester City after eight years at the Emirates.
The loss of the France full-back is not on the same scale as their previous loss of Fabregas but their signing of Mathieu Debuchy to replace him is markedly similar in its statement.
Debuchy will turn 29-years-old next week, he is a full senior international for France and is well acclimatised to the demands of the Premier League with Newcastle. Much like Arteta, he is not a signing for the long-term future such as a signing of an alternative such as 21-year-old Serge Aurier might have been.
He is, in effect, a player who can come in and hold the fort for the next few years until Carl Jenkinson and or Hector Bellerin are ready to step up.
The new right-back is a player who, more than any of the other alternatives, can slot straight into that Arsenal back four with Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs without a huge amount of adaptation. When Arteta arrived that was how he functioned, coming in from the Goodison Park to join Alex Song and Jack Wilshere in the Gunners’ central midfield.
In his first season, Arteta made 38 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners – he was in every way, shape and form a key player from the outset and Debuchy will be no different in the new campaign.
Debuchy's signing is one that, on paper, is an astute signing that is, above all, low risk. Wenger could have signed a younger player, a player from a foreign league but opted to chose another France international with proven quality and experience that is ready to hit the ground running without much ado.
He signs for a very similar fee as Arteta and, will surely remain at the club for the duration of his five-year contract by which time he’ll be turning 33 which is, incidentally, how old Mikel Arteta will be this time next summer when his deal expires.