News has been circulating all over the UK and French media that a deal for Lille full back Mathieu Debuchy had been resurrected, and that the Frenchman would sign for Newcastle United for a fee of around £5.5 million in the imminent January transfer window.
So I decided to probe deeper and chase up the original French story which “broke” the news. It turns out that it is another one of this “According to a source close to the club” stories which are, more often than not, specious guff.
Here is my (dodgy) translation of the original as it appear in the French Journal “La Voix du Nord” or “The Voice of the North”
“The deal is not yet official yet, but according to our information, Mathieu Debuchy will no longer Lille in 2013. While its leaders finalise at this very moment an agreement with Newcastle (Premier League), who wanted to him to come this summer, the side prepares for the departure of the 27 year old. A page turns.
“This is the end of a beautiful story between a boy who has the club of his heart. Since the story of the transfer started this summer and failed, something was broken between Lille and Mathieu Debuchy. Since then, the side struggled to smile again with Debuchy not at his best (I’m struggling a bit here – wt), although he eventually evacuated the frustration. But then he thought to finish the season, despite his differences with the board, despite the departure of (Mickaël) Landreau (Lille’s goalkeeper who left the club for Bastia at the beginning of the season), the side saw the situation accelerate suddenly. Newcastle need reinforcements after shipping eleven goals in two games against Manchester United and Arsenal, and Lille and need cash. This time, the two sides quickly agreed, at least in spirit, while the final details are resolved at this very moment. (This sounds suspiciously the specious logic that is the stock in trade of cheap, disreputable hacks – wt)
“According to a source close to the English club, the two clubs agreed a transfer would be in the order of €6 million (around £4.9 million at current rates, not the £5.5 million quoted in the UK – wt), and discussions are now focusing on the various bonuses linked to this transfer. But the conclusion of the case means there will no longer be any doubt that Debuchy will be a Magpie for the coming years. It goes back to Yohan Cabaye, his friend, with whom he won the Championship and Cup double in 2011. But also several French players such as Ben Arfa, Obertan or Marveaux.
“Lille, which continues its economic transformation as we had suggested before the Christmas holidays, the departure of the French international will help relieve the financial strain and (Djibril) Sidibé (the 20 year old left back signed by Lille in the last transfer window) offer the opportunity to express themselves more. It remains to be seen how the rest of the group will digest this new beginning. And if it will help recruiting offensive players before the CAN (Cup of African Nations – wt), which is not at all certain.”
And that is it, though it is perhaps worth noting that the writer claims the story came from “a source close to the ENGLISH club,” not the French one.
Just to add to this if I may, Debuchy himself has been giving very mixed messages in his interviews, generally giving me the impression of being a bit whiny, cheeky, and possibly in need of a good slapping from his manager and chairman.
Finally, it would seem strange that Newcastle United would go into more protracted negotiations for the player after Managing Drector Derek Llambias claimed that they were led to believe by Lille that they had a deal in the Summer, but that they somehow misled Newcastle United on the deal. Derek Llambias said at the time:
“Debuchy was a target and we were led to believe it would be around six million Euros but that was never the case, it was a lot bigger than that but it was pounds as well. We worked really hard on it and were keen to do the deal but if you can’t afford it…you can’t afford it. You can’t keep going down the road of saying, ‘Oh well it is only another 2 or 3 million.”
And if they tried and failed again, that would make Llambias look like even more of an incompetent clown than he already does, which is saying something.
But we’ll see one way or the other in January no doubt.