- Premier League
Debuchy close to signing for Newcastle
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has said the club are on the verge of clinching a deal for Mathieu Debuchy, who is already being lamented by his soon-to-be former Lille team-mates.
Debuchy, 27, was at St James' Park on Wednesday to see Pardew's men lose to Everton, and the Newcastle boss, who had to employ James Perch as a makeshift right-back in the 2-1 home defeat, is looking forward to soon being able to call on the France international, a specialist in the position.
"It's just a question of the medical and a few details," Pardew, whose usual right-back, Danny Simpson, is sidelined with a broken toe, told the BBC. "That position is a key position for us that we have looked to strengthen, and hopefully Debuchy's quality and experience will be much needed. Because that is what we missed against Everton. Just a little bit more quality, a bit more experience in key moments."
Debuchy had already hoped to be reunited with former Lille team-mate Yohan Cabaye at Newcastle last summer, but Lille were unwilling to accept his transfer request with Debuchy's experience required for their Champions League campaign, while the Premier League club failed to meet the 2010-11 French champions' valuation of the player.
However, with Lucas Digne's emergence as a highly-promising left-back, utility defender Franck Beria can switch flanks to the right, where young Djibril Sidibe, 20, will provide cover while cash-strapped, out-of-Europe Lille pocket some €6.5 million for Debuchy, who joined the club as an eight-year-old. If Les Dogues' striker Nolan Roux is to be believed, the team will struggle to fill the void, however.
"Mathieu's someone I like a lot," the ex-Brest forward said. "He's spent a lot of time here, but he already wanted to leave in June, and now he's got an opportunity that things go through. The club has accepted, so I'm happy for him, even if we're losing a very good player.
"I think he'll come back soon to say goodbye. He's sorting things out, but I don't know if he's signed, I haven't been told."