It is no coincidence that Arsenal’s longest period of poor form in the Premier League coincided with the period in which Bacary Sagna was absent with a broken leg. To his credit, Carl Jenkinson did his best, but he too was then sidelined for an extended period with a back injury, meaning that Arsenal were forced to rely on Johan Djourou and Francis Coquelin.
Sagna is now sidelined again, having broken the same leg for a second time, and it is unknown if he will be fit in time for the new season. Although Jenko did put in a few good performances, his lack of experience (he is only 20 years old) began to show and suggests that we need a new right-back as cover for next season.
The player who is currently being linked with Arsenal is Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy, who has drawn significant attention at Euro 2012 with his starting role for France in Sagna’s absence. A few days ago we reported that Arsenal were preparing a £6.5 million bid for Czech Republic right-back Theodor Gebre Selassie, although the player has now official signed for Werder Bremen.
Debuchy will feature against Spain in tonight’s the quarter-final as he seems to be preferred to veteran right-back Anthony Réveillère. The 26-year-old has only made 8 appearances for Les Blues since winning his first cap in November 2011, but is clearly seen as one for the future by Laurent Blanc. He is a highly versatile player who can play in several different positions if required; he is competent at left-back and originally started his career as a deep-lying playmaker.
Earlier this week, Lille manager Rudi Garcia confirmed that Newcastle have already made an offer of £4 million for Debuchy. The Magpies seem to be attracting young, talented French players, having signed Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye in the last few seasons. They are also linked with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who is the captain of Montpellier, and Cheikh M’Bengue, a left-back who plays for Toulouse. Garcia is resigned to the fact that Debuchy could leave Lille, but made fun of Newcastle’s bid, which clearly falls well below their valuation.
‘He is torn between staying with us and playing in the Champions League in our new stadium or going elsewhere.
‘If he does go and it is a sporting progression, then we will be happy to see him evolve – but we have not planned to replace him.
‘But I do believe that Newcastle have faxed an offer of £4million – but they must have the wrong player.
Lille are believed to want somewhere in the region of £6.5 million for Debuchy, who apparently has a release clause of £7m. Asked whether he was surprised at Debuchy’s performances for France, Garcia said:
“No [they haven't surprised me], as he plays with France as he does with us. He plays high and attacks, but defensively is also very rigorous and he exudes confidence.
“Without insulting Reveillere and Sagna, he is trying to show he should always be right-back for France.”
This transfer is one to watch very closely. Sagna is approaching 30 and has been suffering from injury problems, so it would be good if we could bring in a slightly younger but still very experienced understudy. There is a 10-year age gap between Sagna and Jenkinson, so Debuchy who would fit in nicely somewhere in the middle.