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Paid £5m, sold for £12m: Newcastle struck gold on gem who put “his life on the line”

3 minute read

28/9/2022 | 08:40pm

Newcastle United have endured and enjoyed the highs and lows of the transfer market over the years with a number of failures and successes in windows gone by.

One player the club struck gold with was the signing of French right-back Mathieu Debuchy. The defender joined the Magpies from Lille for a fee in the region of £5m in January 2013.

Alan Pardew, who was in charge of the club at the time, hailed the signing and explained what he would offer on the pitch, saying:

“He is an established top international player and it is a real coup for this club that we now have him at St James’ Park.

“Mathieu will add real quality to our team, in terms of his ability, character and experience and I am sure he will quickly become a firm favourite among our fans too.”

He arrived in England after amassing a whopping 308 appearances for Lille in his home country, playing regular top-flight football after coming through their academy set-up and making his debut for France prior to joining Newcastle.

The full-back almost immediately became a regular in the Toon side after joining in January as he played 14 times in the second half of the 2012/13 Premier League campaign, making 4.7 tackles and interceptions per outing.

At the start of 2013/14, Pardew praised the right-back’s commitment out on the pitch, saying: “He puts his life on the line every time in every game he plays.”

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He enjoyed a superb season as he played 29 matches in the league and chipped in with one goal and four assists from right-back, whilst averaging a WhoScored rating of 7.44 – placing him second in the Newcastle squad, with Yohan Cabaye (7.48) the only player with a higher average score.

Debuchy made a whopping 5.7 tackles and interceptions per game for the Magpies and topped the charts for the club in that statistic, which shows how important he was to the defensive structure of the team.

His sublime form at St. James’ Park caught Arsenal’s eye and Arsene Wenger swooped to sign him in the summer of 2014 for a fee in the region of £12m.

This means that Newcastle made a profit of £7m on Debuchy despite only having him at the club for 18 months, which illustrates how much of a bargain their initial deal to sign him from Lille was.

The Magpies struck gold by signing the Frenchman in 2013 and enjoyed a season-and-a-half of excellent performances from him at right-back before pocketing a sizeable chunk of change.

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