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Why did Arsene Wenger block Mathieu Debuchy’s loan move to Manchester United in January?

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted he blocked Debuchy's move as to not strengthen a title rival.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted he blocked Debuchy’s move as to not strengthen a title rival.

In a recent press conference, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted he barred defender Mathieu Debuchy from joining Manchester United on loan for the rest of the season, as he regarded the Red Devils as title-rivals, and therefore wasn’t keen on strengthening the Gunners’ competition in the race for a Premier League crown.

What would United really gain with misfit Debuchy?

But with the right-back greatly suffering with poor form and fitness, coupled with United’s large deficit to make up in the title-race, was Wenger misguided? Debuchy ended up joining French Ligue 1 side Girondins de Bordeaux until the end of the current campaign, while United struggled on with a growing injury crisis to their defence, and the player himself was bemused at the decision made by his manager.

Given Wenger’s track record in the past for selling key players to his title rivals, is an out-of-form injury-prone defender really going to improve United enough to challenge Arsenal? The Londoners are 10 points better off than Manchester United in the Premier League as things stand, and Louis van Gaal’s side could even miss out on a Champions League spot.

United aren’t even challenging Arsenal for trophies

United aren’t contenders and have hardly threatened to be all season. And with Debuchy having failed to shine for the Gunners since his move from Newcastle United, it’s hard to see him operating much differently in an underachieving Red Devils side. Wenger even admitted his shock that van Gaal was keen on his signature given how poor he’s been for Arsenal.

The 30-year-old will now end the season with Bordeaux and its unlikely he will remain at the Emirates past the summer. He missed a lot of game time due to injury woes as well as the form of rising star Hector Bellerin, but feels hard done by that a chance to shine at United was taken away from him.

Ageing Debuchy not an attractive proposition now

With Debuchy having shown little quality in an Arsenal shirt for the large part, the chance to play for United gave him a second chance to impress with a big club. He’s now back in France, however, and looking to rebuild his reputation. Unfortunately, there are factors going against him.

Debuchy turns 31 this summer so clubs aren’t likely to offer any form of long-term deal. He’s also unlikely to have much a future at Arsenal due to a difficult relationship with Wenger. It was surprising United came in for him in January, and even more shocking Arsenal didn’t let him join them. It’s easy to forget Arsenal sold Robin van Persie to Manchester United in 2012 and he went on to win them the title in his first season at Old Trafford.

Fri 19 Feb, 2016
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