L’Équipe report this morning that Arsenal midfielder Mattéo Guendouzi and the London club’s board took the opportunity jointly during an internal discipline meeting, triggered by the player’s conduct involving Neal Maupay in a Premier League game vs Brighton last weekend, to discuss the French youth international’s future at the club more widely.
Under contract with the Gunners until 2022, Guendouzi indicated that he would not oppose the possibility of changing scenery. Having arrived in 2018 from then Ligue 2 outfit Lorient, Guendouzi experienced a meteoric rise at Arsenal, having been in favour with then manager Unai Emery.
He had an impressive first season with the Gunners and had clearly become pivotal to Emery’s plans, starting the first 13 Premier League matches of the 2019/20 campaign. The Spanish coach was not the only individual to be impressed by the PSG youth product, with Didier Deschamps calling him up to French national team squad appearances in September and November, although on neither occasion did he step foot on the pitch competitively.
Emery’s eviction in autumn has changed the Arsenal scenery for many players, including Guendouzi. Mikel Arteta redistributed the cards and Guendouzi has been one of the biggest losers.
Arteta and Guendouzi don’t have a bad relationship, but the midfielder does not feel that the ex-Manchester City assistant fully trusts him and he believes that Arteta is not playing him as much as he would like: 4 starts in 12 league matches.
Day and night in comparison to his minutes during the Emery era, for a player who has been known to let his very big personal ambitions affect his relationship with his managers, just ask Mickael Landreau.
Guendouzi is struggling to accept this situation, which he views as a regression in his career. In the vein, Guendouzi appears to have politely informed the Arsenal board that he would prefer to be in a different environment where he can better continue to progress. He does not want to run the risk of obliterating his chances of appearing in EURO 2020 (next year), with Moussa Sissoko, Blaise Matuidi and Steven N’Zonzi all in danger of being overlooked by Deschamps when next summer comes around.
He knows too that he does not lack suitors: Inter Milan have already concretely positioned themselves, with Antonio Conte a big fan of the Frenchman. Juventus and Manchester United have also both expressed an interest in his talent. Real Madrid and Barcelona are watching him, but there is nothing concrete.
Arsenal are not closing the door, perhaps surprisingly – they want at least €40m in order to allow the ex-Lorient man to exit this summer. Owing to the COVID-19 crisis, they have told Guendouzi that he will be allowed to leave if the stars align.