If I had a pound for every rumour about Arsenal at present, I’d be able to afford Sky’s PPV fees for this entire season and possibly next. However, I was recently interested in the suggestion inside the club that Matteo Guendouzi still has a chance and his Arsenal career may not be over after all.
Although there were heated exchanges after the incident involving Neal Maupay during the Gunners’ bad-tempered defeat to Brighton, his season-long absence is viewed as a ‘learning curve and cooling off period’. Mikel Arteta has not closed the door completely on the player and a decision will be made at the end of the season when all parties assess their options.
Guendouzi’s obvious talent can’t excuse his assault on a fellow professional, although I freely admit that I wanted to do something similar after the 2-1 defeat to the Seagulls in June. Maupay, for his part, conducted himself equally poorly, and ultimately, his actions resulted in an unnecessary injury to Bernd Leno.
The Guendouzi stranglehold wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before at Arsenal from the likes of Patrick Vieira or Martin Keown and many will claim that it was merely a display of passion. The incident itself wasn’t the reason for his prolonged absence from the side, that came after the final whistle and in subsequent exchanges with Arteta.
The Arsenal boss objected to the Frenchman’s attitude to the incident and his inability to show a greater sense of discipline, especially in the days that followed. Arteta understood the passion, but the player wouldn’t admit his blatant lack of control or recognise the position in which he had placed the club.
The Spaniard decided to loan the player in the meantime, with no established interest from any major clubs. Much has been said by both parties privately and in the meantime, Guendouzi had time, since his departure to Hertha Berlin, to reconsider his position.
It’s said that both the player and club could clear the decks and start again depending on the reports regarding the Frenchman’s performances and general attitude. Guendouzi is thought to still be in favour of staying in England, perhaps, realising that the North London club and Arteta, in particular, could make a considerable contribution to his career.
Arsenal need a dynamic, committed and creative midfielder and Guendouzi has the potential to grow into that role. The fact that the club has secured the services of Thomas Partey will appeal to the exiled player and could be pivotal in building bridges between himself and the Arsenal football club.