As we previously reported, Matteo Guendouzi’s time at the Emirates seems to be over. The French midfielder has been training with the U23s since the defeat to Brighton as the club deemed his actions after the game as unacceptable. Since then, the 21-year-old has reportedly had numerous opportunities to make amends but has refused to do so.
Now, Mikel Arteta has given the higher-ups the all-clear to move on the midfielder in the summer as he’s had enough of his attitude problems. A £40m price tag has been set for his services, but the club is also exploring possibilities of using him in a swap deal.
It’s rumoured that the youngster could be used to help Arsenal pay for Houssem Aouar. The Lyon wonderkid has been making his mark on Ligue 1 since he was teenager, racking up 123 appearances for the French club. The 22-year-old’s creative consistency has gained him many suitors across Europe, including Arsenal.
Here are the costs and benefits of swapping Aouar for Guendouzi.
This wouldn’t necessarily be a like for like swap, but Arsenal would be getting a versatile creative midfielder in return for a box-to-box midfielder. Matteo Guendouzi has shown glimpses of brilliance at the Emirates without ever truly making any position his own. Across the past two years, Guendouzi has been deployed in several roles but not stood out in any of them. In fact, his best period at the club was when he could freely roam in a dysfunctional Unai Emery side. But under the strict and more calculated Arteta, he has only glimpses of brilliance.
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. For Guendouzi, he can’t be accused of not working hard but it’s become clear that his attitude doesn’t match his talent. Mikel Arteta is not the first manager to have had problems with the French youngster.
Former Lorient boss Bernard Casoni opened up recently about how he encountered issues with the 21-year-old on several occasions. Even the manager after him, Mickael Landreau, had problems with the youngster and dropped him from the squad for 3 months. If you’re having issues with every manager you’ve ever had then the issue is with you and not them.
In a swap deal for Aouar, Arsenal would be getting a midfielder whose been commended for his attitude and work rate on the pitch. His willingness to often sacrifice creative output for the team’s defensive gain has not gone unnoticed and will be a trait that Arteta would welcome.
This season, the Lyon midfielder has showcased his versatility on several occasions. In his 40 games, Aouar has played in 6 different positions: CM, LAM, LM, AM, LW & DM. In an ever-evolving Arsenal team, such versatility would be welcome at the Emirates as Mikel Arteta still doesn’t know his best XI. The 22-year-old’s wide passing range, close dribbling and ability to hold up play make him Lyon’s catalyst for most attacks.
These exceptional traits suit his style of play as he’s been known to favour being a ball carrier on the counter-attack whilst drawing in fouls from opponents. Statistically, Aouar has averaged 2.7 dribbles and been fouled 1.7 times a game, in addition, the midfielder has maintained an 85.9% passing accuracy.
A lot of fans will be sad to see Matteo Guendouzi leave but if the upside is a swap for a player just 1 year older but with more ability and who is further down his progress, then it’s a no-brainer.