Arsenal are close to sealing it first major signing of the summer, according to Media reports. French sports publication L’equipe reports that Arsenal has reached an agreement of £8 million (€10 million) for the transfer of Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle. The player has tended to confirm that he has already signed when he said on French TV TF1 ( as reported by mirror ):
“Yes, I will be joining Arsenal for next season”
If the quote is not made up, then it is safe for one to assume he will undergo a medical next week at London Colney.
Replacing such a player will no doubt be a difficult act to follow.
What will be expected of Mathieu Debuchy as he moves from a big club with tempered expectations, to a bigger club with great expectations. Already, he has shown that he is not a lame duck, by the fact that he has kept Sagna out of the French national team first eleven for some time now, which only mean, there is something in him that is lacking the Sagna’s game.
Last season he made 29 appearances for the Magpies. Coming up with 71 tackles in the league, winning 111 aerial duels, and his 69 interceptions with 12 blocks. He has a strong gift of covering the centre half, something Per Mertesacker would benefit from immensely.
Expectation needs to be tempered with some measure of reality though, although, he already has that all important Premier League experience, he will need time to adapt to Arsenal’s style. Bacary Sagna was a conservative full back. Preferring to go for the safe option of always passing the ball to a centre half instead of pushing afford into enemy territory. And he saw most of the ball during Arsenal’s attack because of his aerial ability; Wojciech Szczesny’s goal kicks went towards him. Something the Pole will have to retune.
Arsenal being a side that spends more time on the ball, Debuchy might end up doing less defending in some games as a result, but it is his ability to keep concentration when the team losses possession that becomes key. This he must have be used to as Newcastle were always under the cosh in some games during his time there. So, he must have been schooled in the act of defending without the ball.
As he moves from a yacht to a larger cruise vessel, he will need all the mental strength at his disposal to meet the expectations of the club’s demanding fans.