When Arsenal signed a 19-year-old David Luiz lookalike for a sizeable £8million fee, I and most Arsenal fans scratched their heads and wondered if Sven Mislintat was taking us for a ride. Add to the equation that he was signed from Ligue 2 side Lorient and literally no one had any hope whatsoever for Unai Emery’s fifth signing of the summer. Many thought he’d be shafted to the U23s, but how wrong were we…
It’s hard to believe that Mattéo Guendouzi is still only 20 years old as he’s been an absolute revolution for Unai Emery this season. From being a potential U23s squad player to starting the opening games of the season against reigning Champions Manchester City and Chelsea.
Now I’ll put my hands up, I’d never heard of the Frenchman before he was linked to Arsenal, but over the past eight months, I feel like I’ve seen enough to make a level-headed assessment of his playing ability. Since joining in the summer, the 20-year-old has made 46 appearances, with 34 of them being starts.
Of course, as a young player at a big club, Guendouzi’s first season was never going to be perfect. In fact, in recent months he’s started fewer games as his performance levels have seemingly dropped. Despite his significant talent at a young age, the 20-year-old notably struggles with not being aware of his surroundings.
He seems to believe that he has more time on the ball than he does, I suppose this can be put down to adjusting to the ferocity of the English Premier League. The Frenchman’s lack of pace or strength has also not fared well in England, with the midfielder regularly getting shoved off the ball in vulnerable situations. It’s these lapses in concentration that the youngster needs to iron out of his game if he’s to become a world-class PL midfielder.