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Wenger sees Mathieu Debuchy’s role evolving

Arsene Wenger suggests his future may be at center back.

Arsenal v Norwich City - Carabao Cup Fourth Round
Arsene Wenger expects Mathieu Debuchy to compete for increased playing time.
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Mathieu Debuchy’s Arsenal career has not gone well. The Frenchman has suffered injury after injury, limiting him to only 24 appearances in slightly more than 2.5 seasons with the club.

But things may finally be turning around for him. Debuchy has played all of Arsenal’s last two non-league matches, including 120 minutes against Norwich, and looks set to start again against Red Star Belgrade.

Arsene Wenger recently praised Debuchy, saying “Mathieu is absolutely strong and determined as well. He’s a quiet character but a very strong one.”

Debuchy has only played in non-league matches this season, but that could soon change. Wenger said “from now on, he’ll be a candidate to fight for the team places again.”

Wenger said he sees Debuchy as a possible centerback and noted that despite his size, he is strong in the air. With Shkodran Mustafi still injured, Laurent Koscielny’s intermittent achilles issues, and the relative inexperience of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers, having another seasoned player to rotate/cover at centerback can only be a good thing for Arsenal going forward.

It is truly remarkable how bad Debuchy’s luck has been since joining the club. Here’s a quick look at his history:

  • July 2014: bought from Newcastle after playing 4 of 5 games for France at the World Cup
  • September 2014: ankle injury that required surgery.
  • December 2014: returns from ankle injury after 3 months out.
  • January 2015: dislocated his shoulder requiring surgery
  • April 2015: returns from shoulder injury, plays one match, doesn’t appear again.
  • August 2015: starts first game of the season, doesn’t appear again.
  • February 2016: loaned to Bordeaux.
  • Summer 2016: thigh injury that keeps him out of the 2016 Euros.
  • August 2016: calf injury.
  • November 2016: returns from calf injury, plays 16 minutes before severely injuring his hamstring. Expected to be out until January 2017, but experiences repeated setbacks. Doesn’t appear again.
  • October 2017: returns to the lineup away to Red Star.

Fingers crossed his injury issues are behind him at this point.