Mikel Arteta has had enough of Matteo Guendouzi’s attitude. While the young midfielder is a special talent, Arteta is the boss. Arsenal must back his decision.
You never want to lose special players. It is not a smart way to build a football team. However, at some point, special players can become problem players, and once they reach that stage, it is better to simply move on. Arsenal have ostensibly reached that point with Matteo Guendouzi.
Per The Athletic, Guendouzi’s response to recent poor behaviour has ruptured his relationship with head coach Mikel Arteta and spurred the club to search for potential swap deals this summer. The Frenchman has just two years remaining on his current contract and would need to be offloaded in the looming window if the club wants to recoup maximum value.
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While his poor behaviour is not isolated to one incident, the recent problems hail from his performance against Brighton. Guendouzi reportedly berated Brighton players, saying that he would earn more than they ever would in his career. He then placed Neal Maupay in a chokehold following the full-time whistle.
While he escaped any FA punishment for his actions, Arteta handled the behaviour behind closed doors. Per the report, he and Technical Director Edu Gaspar met with Guendouzi after the match. They are said to have been unimpressed with Guendouzi’s response.
Guendouzi has since trained away from the first-team squad. His attitude has reportedly been poor and he has responded badly to Arteta’s demands. It leaves the 21-year-old on the verge of the leaving the club just two seasons after arriving and looking like one of the brightest talents in world football.
There had always been murmurs that Guendouzi’s ambitious, prideful attitude would be an issue. It is why he was kicked out of Lorient before he moved to Arsenal. He also fell out with Arteta during Arsenal’s mid-season trip to Dubai earlier in the year. This is far from the first time that his spiky character has been called into question.
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Guendouzi is a sensationally talented player. He is the highest-ceiling young prospect in the squad, perhaps the only player who can realistically claim to be capable of becoming a true world-leading figure at their position. Letting that type of player leave is rarely smart and Arsenal could well regret the decision in the future.
However, in this instance, Arteta is the boss and his decision is the one the club must support. The squad needs a disciplinarian figure to lead them. The problem characters must be shipped out and the culture of the team needs to be reset. Arteta has famously discussed his ‘non-negotiables’ before. These are in an attempt to change the atmosphere at the club. For all his ability, if Guendouzi is unwilling to adapt to Arteta’s demands, Arsenal should not hesitate to sell.
Guendouzi may well turn into the world-class central midfielder he is undoubtedly capable of becoming. And Arsenal may well regret letting him leave. But make no mistake, Arteta is the boss and his decision goes. Any other way to handle this situation would be a severe error of judgement.