ALAN Pardew admits that Newcastle United do NOT miss Mathieu Debuchy – because of the form of Daryl Janmaat.
Debuchy joined this evening’s Premier League opponents Arsenal in the summer.
And the defender will face his former team-mates for the first time at the Emirates Stadium (5.30pm kick-off).
Debuchy had been an influential figure on the pitch during his 18 months at St James’s Park.
But United manager Pardew feels the transition at right-back from Debuchy to Janmaat, signed from Feyenoord as his replacement, has been “seamless”.
The attack-minded and powerful full-back – who helped Holland reach the World Cup semi-finals in the summer – has quickly adjusted to the pace and intensity of English football.
“We have been very fortunate that Janmaat has been seamless,” said Pardew.
“That’s no disrespect to Debuchy, he’s a great player.”
Pardew added: “It has worked well – they don’t always.”
Debuchy – who joined Newcastle in January last year from Lille – made no secret of his interest in joining Arsenal.
And Pardew admitted once the money was on the table, the club – which already done the groundwork on the Janmaat deal – had to accept the offer.
Newcastle doubled their money on their £5m investment in Debuchy.
Pardew said: “We loved him here. He was a great personality and a great player. The financial part of that deal was the reason we lost him – there’s no doubt about that – because I would have loved to keep him.”
Debuchy returned from an ankle injury in Arsenal’s 4-1 midweek Champions League win over Galatasaray in Istanbul. The 29-year-old had been out since mid-September.
United are level on points with sixth-placed Arsenal ahead of the hectic Christmas period.
And Pardew feels it is a “critical” period for a team which harbours ambitions of qualifying for Europe.
“We have actually set our targets for this Christmas period, and we will just stick on those targets at the moment,” he said. “I think it’s a critical period.
“The games coming up will tell us a lot about roughly where we’ll finish. It could be hugely significant in terms of how high we can be.”