Newcastle United new boy Mathieu Debuchy feared he would have to continue waiting to fulfil his ambition of playing in England.
France international right-back Debuchy, 27, had made clear his desire to quit Lille after almost two decades with Les Dogues and join Newcastle last summer. After the clubs failed to reach a deal, Debuchy publicly stated his frustration at the move breaking down, a sentiment he told Le Parisien newspaper he expected to be prolonged until next summer.
"I've always wanted to play in England, and I'm very happy to be at Newcastle now," Debuchy, who signed a five-and-a-half year deal this week, said. "I wanted to join them last summer, but it didn't come off, and this winter I didn't think it would happen. I thought it more likely Newcastle would get back to me in a few months. Finally, everything has gone through quickly."
Debuchy follows in the footsteps of friend and ex-Lille team-mate Yohan Cabaye, who has been a big success on Tyneside since his move in summer 2011. Debuchy insisted "even if he wasn't there, I would have gone", but did acknowledge Cabaye's positive experience in North-East England had influenced him.
"I saw that it was a family club like Lille. Yo[han] had told me about it. Newcastle's values reflect my own. And the fans, the atmosphere, is fantastic. I was able to see it for myself: inside the stadium, there are not only spectators, there are supporters. It's tremendous," Debuchy, who attended Newcastle's 2-1 home defeat to Everton in midweek, explained.
"It's one of the best leagues. England is the best. The rhythm is intense, everything goes at 2000 kilometres-an-hour. There's no respite, I love that."