Mathieu Debuchy, now a 37-year-old centre-back at Valenciennes, once donned the right-back shirt at Arsenal during Arsène Wenger’s tenure. However, Debuchy’s time with the Gunners wasn’t particularly memorable, as he recently recounted in an interview with Colinterview, as relayed by Girondins4Ever.

Mathieu Debuchy
Mathieu Debuchy

Debuchy’s move from Newcastle to Arsenal

Arsenal signed Debuchy from Newcastle for €15m, but the French defender struggled to make a significant impact at the Emirates after being shoved into the hoarding by Marko Arnautović.

Over four years, he made a mere 30 appearances for the London club. There was even a time when he almost signed with Manchester United, but the deal fell through at the last minute.

The injury that changed Debuchy’s Arsenal career

Debuchy’s difficulties at Arsenal were compounded by a shoulder injury, which led to him losing his starting spot to Hector Bellerín.

Reflecting on that period, Debuchy said, “He had some good games, was performing. From that moment on, it was over for me. It was a very difficult time.”

Exchanges with Wenger and Bellerín’s rise

Debuchy’s conversations with Wenger were “normal,” and he didn’t feel neglected.

However, he recognised that he had been sidelined, and his frustration grew as he believed there were times when he could have reclaimed his spot.

“The manager had made his choice, though, and that was it… He’d decided to play Bellerín who was performing. Sometimes, he wasn’t playing as well, and that’s when I could have been there, but the manager decided to keep him in.

“I was a bit annoyed with him at times, but that’s how it is,” Debuchy explained.

The Manchester United deal that never happened

Adding to Debuchy’s discontent was a near-move to Manchester United, which ultimately fell through.

Details regarding the specifics of the failed transfer are scarce, but it’s clear that the move could have offered Debuchy a fresh start and possibly more playing time.

The missed opportunity added to Debuchy’s dissatisfaction with his situation at Arsenal and served as another frustration during his tenure with the Gunners.

Had the transfer been successful, Debuchy’s career trajectory could have been significantly different.

Life after Arsenal

In 2018, Debuchy left Arsenal for Saint-Etienne, where he spent three years before joining Valenciennes on a free transfer in 2021.