MATHIEU Debuchy is in a hurry to make an impression at St James’s Park – after finally sealing his dream move to Newcastle United.
The defender yesterday completed a £5.5m transfer window-move from Lille.
And Debuchy – who has signed a five-and-a-half year deal – is keen to make up for lost time, having been the subject of several bids from Newcastle last summer.
The 27-year-old, keen to join close friend Yohan Cabaye on Tyneside after a decade as a professional at Lille, was left frustrated after the two clubs couldn’t agree a fee.
United returned for the experienced Debuchy this week, and the France international, an attack-minded full-back, is expected to make his debut a week today when the club takes on Norwich City at Carrow Road.
“I’m delighted – I’ve wanted this for a long time, and now I’m finally here,” Debuchy said. “I wanted to play for Newcastle then, so naturally I was disappointed when things didn’t go to plan.
“I’ve been made welcome by everybody. I’m looking forward to integrating myself into the set-up.
“I hope my game will suit the Premier League. I don’t intend to change the way I play.”
Debuchy was sold on a move to Newcastle long ago by Cabaye, who he has known since the pair started out in football at Lille’s youth academy.
He also knows Hatem Ben Arfa from the France set-up and he will live with Cabaye and his family while he settles on Tyneside over the coming weeks.
“Yohan was very positive about the club,” added Debuchy.
“He told me about the set-up, and about the city and the supporters.
“But I’m here to play football for the club, and I’m here for football reasons.
“Yohan and I go back a long way to the youth and development teams. We went on to play professionally together.”
United, as a club, has long had a high profile in France, with David Ginola having been the trailblazer for a long line of French footballers when he joined in the 1990s.
Debuchy said: “This is a big club. The likes of Alan Shearer and David Ginola played for Newcastle.
“Ginola had a successful time at the club, and I hope to do the same by working hard.
“Lille is a provincial club, like Newcastle. Hopefully that will help me make the transition.
“I just got here on Wednesday, so I haven’t seen much of the city yet.”
Debuchy would have been forgiven for having second thoughts about moving to United given the club’s Premier League plight this season.
Last season’s fight for a Champions League place has been followed by a relegation battle, with Wednesday night’s 2-1 home defeat to Everton, watched by Debuchy, having left the club just two points above the drop zone.
However, Debuchy is adamant the club’s poor form didn’t give him pause for thought.
Asked if he hestitated, Debuchy said: “Not at all.”