I had high hopes for Mathieu Debuchy when he was signed from Newcastle in the summer of 2014. I thought that spending time under Wenger’s tutelage would be great for him, and that he would push on to become the next one of Arsenal’s legendary defenders.
Well, it hasn’t really turned out that way. Thanks to a combination of really bad injuries - one to his ankle that required surgery, and one to his shoulder, caused by Stoke, that required another long layoff - he was never really able to make right back his own. He fought back from injury and got healthy this fall, only to injure himself after 15 minutes of his 2016/17 season debut appearance against Bournemouth in November.
And now it appears that he feels his time at Arsenal has come to an end. In an interview with L’Equipe today, which is summarized and translated here, he responded to a question about going to Marseille this winter thusly:
I am looking for an exit door. I want to try a new challenge, to throw everything back into something, to quite simply do my job in a normal way. At one moment or another, you start to miss the excitement, the adrenaline.
“looking for an exit door” isn’t very ambiguous. He clearly wants regular playing time, and I can’t blame him; his inability to stay healthy is a problem in that quest, though, and Arsenal can’t really afford to wait for him. He’s not actually sure that Arsenal will want to move him on, though:
I would prefer a straight transfer but I am only an employee. If the club says no to me, what can I do?
There has been no word from the Arsenal side as to their plans for Debuchy, but it seems clear that he would rather move on; if Arsenal can get some return on him, I don’t see how that’s bad for either club or player. I’m sorry it didn’t work out, Mathieu, and I’m sorry that one of your souvenirs of your time in London is a scar provided by Stoke City, but I, and we at TSF, wish you luck wherever you end up going if you go.