By Editor Wayne Veysey
Mathieu Debuchy has admitted he could leave Arsenal in January despite his recent first-team recall.
The right-back was told last week by France manager Didier Deschamps that he needs to play regularly or leave the Gunners in the winter window if he wants to play at Euro 2016.
Football Insider revealed on 19 October that Debuchy will ask for a January transfer if he remains second choice to Hector Bellerin, who has missed the club’s last three matches with a groin problem.
Asked about being second in line to Bellerin, the 30-year-old said: “I am dealing with it. I am trying to stay strong. We are going to remain concentrated until December, after that I will see.”
Debuchy signed for Arsenal from Newcastle for an initial £8million in the summer of 2014 but missed large chunks of last season with shoulder and ankle injuries.
He has started only 20 matches in all competitions for the Gunners and has watched from the sidelines as Bellerin, 20, has showed great promise since being fast-tracked into the first team at the end of last year.
Bellerin was subsequently handed a five-year contract during the summer and has cemented his first-team place with a string of impressive displays in the new season.
Deschamps said last week: “Mathieu Debuchy is in a position where he is playing very little. He has a decision to make in December or January. He hasn’t lost his quality, he’s playing very little.”
The Arsenal star has spoken with Arsene Wenger about his predicament after losing his place in the France team ahead of Euro 2016, which takes place in his home country next summer.
It remains to be seen whether the Arsenal manager would grant Debuchy a departure, even on loan, in January.
Although Wenger tends not to rotate his defenders and has Calum Chambers and on-loan Carl Jenkinson as alternatives for the position, he values the Frenchman’s experience and will be hopeful that he can regain the form that made him France’s first-choice right-back at the 2014 World Cup.
Debuchy told L’Equipe in September that he thought about leaving during the summer after Bellerin was selected ahead of him in the Community Shield but eventually decided to stay and fight for his place. At that time, Debuchy was in the France squad for the friendlies against Portugal and Serbia.
Debuchy said: “In the long-term, if this situation continues it could become tricky. He [Wenger] knows I’m worried though because there’s an important deadline at the end of the season. It’s a must to hold down a first team place. It’s clear. To be effective on the field you need game time.”