Arsenal have been teased about how they have let one of the best midfielders in the world slip through their fingers in Matteo Guendouzi as a permanent transfer approaches for the 22-year-old star.
The Gunners have generally had upward mobility under Arteta this season. He has managed to create an excellent young team that, until recently, seemed to be well positioned to secure a top-four finish this season. Recent defeats to Crystal Palace and Brighton, however, have dampened his spirits.
But a place in the Champions League is still in Arsenal’s hands with a crucial game against Tottenham, their closest rival, yet to come.
If they secure a top four finish, Arsenal it will clearly become a more attractive place for potential new recruits to come and play.
Indeed, strengthening his midfield and attack this summer seems to be one of Arteta’s top priorities.
However, a deal they are actively pursuing in Eden Hazard seems to be on the way out. That’s amid news that a German rival now appears to be in the driving seat for the player.
However, his transfer funds will be boosted by a series of player sales that Arteta does not rate. The likes of Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Alex Runarsson and Hector Bellerin are likely to be on the way.
But it is Guendouzi’s exit that is perhaps the most controversial.
He was allowed to sign for Marseille on loan for one season, with OM securing a trade option to make the move permanent.
His game in Ligue 1 has gone from strength to strength. And so good has it been, that Marseille manager Jorge Sampaoli believes Guendouzi will soon be regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world.
one of the best in the world
“The [Guendouzi] He is on his way to becoming one of the best midfielders in the world”, smiled the coach.
And that brings up a question mark over Arteta’s stubbornness once players fail to abide by his strict disciplinary lines.
That was in evidence more recently when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was promptly sent off and eventually sold by Arsenal.
The relationship between Guendouzi and Arteta has been documented. During project restart, Guendouzi had a nasty clash with Brighton’s Neale Maupay, which Arteta was furious about..
An altercation over a mid-season trip to Dubai only made things worse for Guendouzi, who was promptly loaned out to Hertha Berlin.
Then, when he returned to Arsenal, he was allowed to move again, this time to Marseille.
Now it seems that the relationship is over forever, with all parties apparently in agreement.
Radiant Sampaoli over Guendouzi
It is also not the first time that Sampaoli has spoken lyrically about Guendouzi.
Speaking earlier this season, the Marseille boss praised his abilities.
“Guendouzi’s physical condition is exceptional. He can recover very quickly, he has less risk of getting injured, ”explained Sampaoli.
“He also managed to impose himself, which you can see with his selection for the France team. Finally, he is the soul of the team. He has not progressed thanks to me, it is in general, he has matured ”.
The Gunners certainly could have done it with Guendouzi of late. Thomas Partey’s thigh injury seems to have come at the worst possible time.
His place in the squad was taken by Albert Sambi Lokonga on Saturday against Brighton, but he failed to reach the same heights.