Mathieu Debuchy says he only wants to remember the good times at Arsenal, after leaving the Gunners for Saint Etienne on deadline day, but says he’s relieved to get his move.

Arsenal terminated Debuchy’s contract early so he could sign a six-month deal with Ligue 1 side, Saint Etienne, on deadline day.

Thursday’s L’Equipe interviewed him about the move.

“It is a relief,” Debuchy admitted. “I had a good discussion with the coach. Saint Etienne are going through a tricky period, this club is legendary. To play in such a stadium, with the fans still behind their team, it’s great.”

On finally leaving Arsenal, after three-and-a-half years, the defender said:

“I have had some difficult times, but I only want to remember good memories. Training on a daily basis with top players, this is not given to everyone.

“I had started rather well but when you are undergoing two operations in six months (ankle and shoulder) during your first season, it complicates the task, necessarily. I still managed to come back but after, it is the choice of the coach.”

As for his new life with Saint Etienne, Debuchy says he’s raring to go:

“I’m ready to play. Physically, I am well. My last game, it was the January 7th. I’ve played in Europa League and in the League Cup this season. But maybe it will take me a little time to find the rhythm.”

L’Equipe, 1 February 2018

The French defender made seven appearances for the Gunners this season before leaving. As he says, those appearances all came in the cups and in Europe. In fact, he only made the Premier League squad once in 25 matches, despite being fit for at least a few months.

Looking back, it feels like Arsene Wenger was just giving the right-back a chance to play his way into form and a move elsewhere. If he seriously had a chance at a long-term future with the Gunners, I think he would’ve made the squad a bit more often.

Nonetheless, the defender generally performed well in his limited opportunities this season. Even if it was for a move, at least he helped Arsenal to the League Cup final and Europa League knockout stages.

Good luck to him for the next six months and beyond.