The long-awaited move sending Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle United to Arsenal is finally complete after an extended period where it was expected but not confirmed. The defender received an undisclosed deal from the Gunners.
Arsenal passed along word of the official agreement:
Sky Sports News also reported the fee Arsenal paid to land Debuchy:
Arsenal sign defender Mathieu Debuchy for £12m from Newcastle #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 17, 2014
In a statement on the club website, Arsene Wenger commented on the move:
We are delighted to welcome Mathieu Debuchy to Arsenal Football Club. He has shown he can perform at the highest level with his club sides and also for France. He is a quality defender who has good Premier League experience and I’m confident he will fit in very well with us.
Debuchy had this to say on joining the Gunners:
I’m very proud to be joining a great club like Arsenal and to wear its colours, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the whole world. I’m looking forward to working with Arsene Wenger and to helping the team build on last season’s FA Cup success. Playing again in the Champions League is a big excitement for me and I will do my best to help Arsenal compete for trophies.
Debuchy became a popular link for Arsenal shortly after extension talks with Bacary Sagna fell short. He moved on to Premier League rival Manchester City and now Wenger has found his replacement on the right side of defense.
The 28-year-old is coming off a standout campaign with the Magpies. He provided steady play at the back across 29 league appearances while also frequently jumping into the attack. His final tally was one goal and three assists.
What do you think about the switch from Sagna to Debuchy?
His strong play was enough to earn him a spot on France's squad for the World Cup alongside Sagna. He proceeded to start four of the side's five matches and continued to showcase good form, helping the Blues reach the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champions Germany.
Now Arsenal hope he can maintain that strong play with his new club.
As mentioned, the move has been widely expected for quite some time. ESPN UK provided comments the defender made to French outlet L'Equipe in which he confirmed talks were ongoing.
"Everyone is saying that, but nothing has been done. For the moment, we are discussing it. Arsenal are a great club. We'll see what happens," he said.
It took a while for all of the details to get worked out, but now it's finally done. The Gunners can spend the rest of the summer looking at other potential upgrades.
In Debuchy, they get the highest-rated right-back in the Premier League last season, according to WhoScored.com:
GRAPHIC: Premier League Team of the Season pic.twitter.com/TH7Yauaimg— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 12, 2014
All told, getting somebody that could replace the versatility of Sagna on the right side was a critical priority for Arsenal. Not only were they able to do that, but the Gunners might even emerge with more production from that position.
A lot depends on how quickly Debuchy can complete the transition. His first half-season with Newcastle left a lot to be desired and then he really elevated his game last season. Arsenal hope he can make this move without a similar initial drop-off.
If so, it will be a great coup for Wenger and Co.