The Athletic claim that Matteo Guendouzi has been training alone since his spat with Neal Maupay at Brighton last month. A constant attitude problem has persuaded the club to sell him this summer: a risk but undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
In the summer of 2018, Arsenal signed a then relatively unheard of Guendouzi from the French second division. After some excellent performances in his first full season at the Emirates, the talented youngster became a favourite amongst the Emirates faithful. It seemed as if Arsenal had yet again found one for the future as many tipped him to become the next great Gun.
Fast-forward two years and fan excitement around the youngster is bleak, his future in the game is uncertain and he is no longer a popular member of the Arsenal dressing room. The worst thing about it is that we all know what went wrong. The 21 year-old’s attitude has been a constant problem on and off the pitch- he may have been able to get away with bad behaviour before but new boss Mikel Arteta has made it clear that you do not get many chances to mess the club around.
The Spaniard laid out a blueprint for success following his appointment at Arsenal. A set of specific demands expected of his players; core club values that were to be respected and followed rigorously.
“I think we have to create the right culture around the club that’s going to make a good living out of the players, create an environment where everybody respects each other, a humility and people have to be accountable for what we want to achieve”, said Arteta back in December.
Most of the players have bought into the Arteta project and already seem more driven to succeed. Whilst we know the progression at Arsenal is a slow process, you can already see signs that Arteta’s culture revolution is working. Things have synonymously improved on the pitch as Arsenal have one of the better records in the Premier League since the turn of the year.
However, Guendouzi is one of the few who have failed to respect the challenges of this process. A relentless immaturity has tested Arteta’s bottle and the Spaniard has been brutal in response.
Arteta first dropped Guendouzi for the home game against Newcastle in February after he was reportedly disappointed with his attitude and behaviour on the Gunners’ mid-season winter tour of Dubai. It served as a warning that disrespecting the newly established club culture was strictly forbidden, one that the Frenchman failed to heed. In the aftermath of a childish display at Brighton just over two weeks ago, Guendouzi has reportedly been training away from the rest of the Arsenal squad as the club are looking to offload him this summer.
The problem Arsenal have is that Guendouzi has proven that he has tremendous potential.
“He gets on the ball all the time, he shows great courage to play and he’s always demanding from his teammates” said Gary Neville on Sky Sports last month.
“He’s not (a squad player). You see him on the pitch, he’s always got his arms stretched, looking over his shoulder. He demands from himself but also others.’
Arsenal fans worry that if he does leave, he could develop into a top player. Perhaps the sudden rise of Serge Gnabry is still fresh in fans’ minds. The German winger, who left Arsenal for Werder Bremen on the cheap in 2016, is now at Bayern Munich and has established himself as one of the biggest stars in a Bayern side who may win the treble this year. Whilst the current attitudes of the two players are incomparable, the risk behind losing Guendouzi is still noticeable. Some of the biggest clubs in world football have been linked with a move for the midfielder, including Barcelona who are favourites for his signature. Being linked to the top clubs is is testament to his ability- the danger is that because he is still young, he may mature and morph into a fantastic midfielder.
That being said, axing Guendouzi shows that Arteta is making sure that Arsenal are going in the right direction. We have finally seen a sense of ruthlessness that has been missing from the club for years. All player’s must be willing to respect the club’s principles, appreciate each other and work harder than before if they wish to play for Arteta’s Arsenal. Anything else is intolerable: Arsenal have entered a new era.
featured image credit daily express