Arsenal & Mathieu Debuchy: £11m of foolishness 14

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Earlier this Summer, Bacary Sagna’s contract expired and he agreed to join Manchester City on a free-transfer, leaving Arsenal with a gaping hole at right-back.

With the greatest respect to Carl Jenkinson, he is not - nor ever will be - a viable full-back option for a top-four/Champions League side, and so Arsene Wenger is expected to go into the transfer-market to replace Sagna.

For a long time, it appeared as if Toulouse’s Serge Aurier would be that player and his performances for Ivory Coast at the World Cup certainly confirmed that he should be that player.

Seemingly not, though, as the momentum around Aurier moving to North London has evaporated and, instead, it’s being reported that Arsenal are ready to pay Newcastle £11m for Mathieu Debuchy.

£11m.  Mathieu Debuchy.

Sometimes you watch Wenger conduct his transfer business and you think that he’s deliberately trying to make his job harder.  Aurier, from what I’ve seen and what I’ve been told by those who are far better informed, is an outstanding prospect who, just like Sagna, can also double as a credible centre-back.Mathieu Debuchy, on the other hand, is a single-purpose right-back who is also an enormous liability anywhere near his own penalty-box.I’m aware of the statistics which portray Debuchy as Newcastle’s most consistent performer last season, but I’m also aware of what I’ve seen every time I’ve watched him play: he cannot defend.  Newcastle are not a good side and that obviously doesn’t help Debuchy, but he’s an unbalanced player who only ever looks comfortable when he’s in possession and crossing the halfway line.

Bacary Sagna is an excellent defender who also provides very useful offensive support, and that’s a tricky combination to replace given the tendencies of the modern full-back.  Debuchy is not even close to being that kind of player, though, and he would represent a significant downgrade to the Arsenal defence.

This is baffling; unless Toulouse are demanding something absurd for Aurier, there’s no credible explanation for it.  If he’s a no-go then fine, but Wenger and Arsenal need to keep looking before they get on the phone to Newcastle.

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