Understandably, Arsenal fans were more than disappointed when new summer signing Mathieu Debuchy was stretchered off the pitch in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City. However, over in France the worry was just as severe as Les Bleus hope that their starting right-back can return for next month’s international double-header.
France may only be playing friendlies, but it is still of utter importance as they try to build their squad as hosts of the 2016 European Championship and if Debuchy does need to have surgery, like he mentioned on Wednesday, it could have a huge impact on the French defence.
Right now, France has an abundance of central midfielders, with some very excellent players unable to even get into the squad, never mind fight for a starting place, but in defence, especially at right-back, there is a drastic lack of options.
Manchester City’s Bacary Sagna would be the obvious No. 2 choice, but his lack of playing time for his new club will worry Didier Deschamps, and he would still need to find someone to replace Debuchy.
That’s where France have a problem.
Left-back is not a problem. Lucas Digne, Layvin Kurzawa, Benoit Tremoulinas can all back up Patrice Evra, don’t forget Gael Clichy too, but at right-back, there are no stand out options.
Dimitri Foulquier of Grenada in Spain is the current under-21 right-back, but he is not ready for the step up in quality. That is France’s problem all over.
Only nine of the current Ligue 1 clubs have a French player currently playing at right-back and either they are too young or inexperienced, or they are just too old or not good enough to come into the national team.
You have Christophe Jallet of Lyon, he managed to get into the French national team previously, but is definitely not an international class defender.
Kevin Theophile-Catherine of Saint-Etienne, Romain Danze of Rennes, Metz’s young Romain Metanire and Youssouf Sabaly at Evian on loan from PSG are all decent options, but none of them have real, recent experience of international football or high pressure matches.
France could be looking at the inevitable opportunity for Bacary Sagna to come back into the starting lineup, despite not playing for his club, but until the Ligue 1 sides develop a new star on the right of defence, they don’t have much option.
Everyone in France wishes Mathieu Debuchy a shift and complete recovery.