Newcastle right-back Mathieu Debuchy looks set to become one of the first Arsenal signings of the summer transfer window, and while Gunners fans may clamour for a younger, more explosive option, the Frenchman is the safest option available to replace compatriot Bacary Sagna.
Arsenal and Debuchy have been linked for a while now, with the Daily Star's David Woods even claiming a deal has already been made between the Gunners and Newcastle.
The French international dropped another strong hint on Thursday, per Metro's Jamie Sanderson, when he removed all Newcastle-related tags from his Twitter bio. And just one week ago, he told the Evening Chronicle (h/t Sky Sports) how he desired to play Champions League football again:
Personally, it’s a great adventure. I have discovered English charm, which is very hard, Newcastle and their extraordinary fans. It’s really incredible to play in that atmosphere.
Having said that, I miss European football and the Champions League in particular. For the moment, I’m concentrating on the World Cup. We’ll see about the rest afterwards.
Debuchy has quietly enjoyed an excellent 2014 World Cup campaign with France, consistently locking down the right flank for Les Bleus. The 28-year-old underlined his defensive capabilities against Nigeria, while adding a lot of creativity moving forward with marauding runs.
He hasn't been the only great performer at the position during this World Cup, however. Ivory Coast's Serge Aurier was excellent in his country's first match against Japan, assisting twice, and he showed everyone how his athletic prowess and potential translates to the pitch.
Aurier is one of the players Arsenal are reportedly looking at signing, per the Daily Mail's Simon Jones, and due to his incredible potential as an attacking force and his young age, he seems to be the preferred option for Arsenal fans around the globe.
Arsene Wenger seems to have his mind set on Debuchy, however, and it's easy to see why.
Debuchy is experienced, is in the middle of his prime, he has Premier League experience and has consistently performed at every level he's played at. While he may lack the raw physical ability of Aurier, his defensive abilities are much closer to those of the man he'll be tasked with replacing, Sagna.
Aurier has potential, but he's an unknown. He would be an excellent player for Wenger to bring to the club and develop, but following his strong World Cup showing, he may have just priced himself out of the market as a squad player.
Is there a chance Arsenal invest top dollar in two right-backs? It's unlikely. The Gunners need more depth in the central areas, could use another winger and are seemingly always on the lookout for a world-class striker.
If it comes down to a choice between Debuchy and Aurier, younger fans will often prefer the offensive superstar who has the pace and power to run all over an opponent.
Debuchy's biggest advantages over Aurier are his experience and defensive abilities, but that doesn't mean he can't hold his own offensively. He won't register on the scoresheet all that much, but then again, he's a right-back.
With Debuchy, the Gunners are investing in a smart, reliable right-back who will offer more moving forward than Sagna, without giving up too much on the defensive side of the ball.
For a team looking to win now, he presents far less of a risk than investing in the inexperienced Aurier. From that perspective, Wenger's decision to go with the safe signing is an understandable one.
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