Matteo Guendouzi is currently Arsenal’s most polarising figure. The Frenchman divides opinion like no other. Signed from a Ligue 2 side two years ago, the 21-year-old has risen to prominence at the Emirates, even earning a senior cap for the national team. Now, 82 games appearances later, his future hangs in the balance.
Reports over the past week have emerged claiming that Mikel Arteta no longer sees a place in his squad for the youngster. The Arsenal boss has had enough of the youngster’s behavioural issues with his actions against Brighton being the last straw. However, the story does not end there. More reports suggest that in a disciplinary meeting with Arteta, the 21-year-old told the boss that he wants a move away from the Emirates.
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Leicester City are all now monitoring the Frenchman’s situation. Regardless of how bad things are now, the Gunners cannot afford to lose the best midfield prospect at the club.
Here’s why Matteo Guendouzi should not be sold this summer.
We live in an era where opinions on footballers can change like the weather. Fans should not forget that in the earlier part of this season, Matteo Guendouzi carried his teammates over the line on two separate occasions. The first time was in the North London derby where he dragged his teammates to a 2-2 comeback, the second was against Aston Villa when his team was down to 10 men. His driving runs at the heart of Villa’s defence destabilised their low-block and changed the game. That’s two game-changing performances he has under his belt, one more than we could ever say for our prince, Jack Wilshere.
At just 21 years of age, Guendouzi has become an integral part of Arsenal’s midfield under three different managers. The Frenchman’s maturity and consistency in the middle have been the only constant in a time of unprecedented change at the club.
Even Mikel Arteta himself has struggled to find his best starting XI, but post-lockdown the youngster has started all of Arsenal’s games up until the incident at Brighton. The likes of Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, and Joe Willock have all failed to put together a consistent run of high-level performances. That’s why each of them has found themselves out of the team at different points under the three different managers.
This season, the Frenchman has made 33 appearances for the Gunners. In those games, Guendouzi has averaged an 88.3% passing accuracy, 45 passes per game, 1.2 successful take-ons, 1.3 tackles and 1.2 tackles per game. The youngster’s stats only further reiterate how much of an all-rounder he is. He excels in all aspects of being a midfielder, making him Arsenal’s most complete midfielder.
Since the return of football, Arteta has chosen to play the youngster as the holding midfielder, despite previously playing him in a box-to-box role. At times under Emery, the Frenchman also played as the most advanced midfielder, just behind the striker. His versatility is a great asset to have and means he can be called upon to do a job whenever the manager asks.
Mikel Arteta has shown throughout his short tenure that he’s keen on giving young players a chance. He sees them as worthy of a chance and none of them has a higher ceiling than Matteo Guendouzi. Such a generational talent hasn’t been seen at the club since a certain 16-year-old arrived. As a mid-table team, Arsenal need Matteo Guendouzi more than he needs them.