According to French publication Le Site Info, Morocco coach Hervé Renard flew to England on Sunday to try and persuade Matteo Guendouzi to switch international allegiance from France to Morocco.
An attempt to get the midfielder to play for their under-17s failed a few years ago and Renard, along with the technical director of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, Nasser Larguet, were left frustrated when he turned down a call up to the senior set-up after his breakthrough at Lorient.
That looked to be the end of the pursuit, but the 19-year-old’s eye-catching start to life at the Emirates has persuaded them to have another go.
The Atlas Lions have benefitted hugely in recent years from approaching kids in the diaspora (their appearance at the World Cup this summer was their first in 20 years), so you can’t blame them for trying.
“We always fix a rendezvous with the player and his family,” Larguet explained of his work in July’s FourFourTwo.
“I’ve conducted dozens of these interviews over the last few years. We discuss our philosophy, and how we believe we can help the player fulfil his potential.”
To date, Guendouzi has represented France up to under-20 level and spoke last week of his desire to one day wear the shirt of Les Bleus.
“Inevitably, it [playing for France] is a dream for me,” he told Ouest France. “I will do everything to get there someday. If I succeed, it would be extraordinary.”
The ball is very much in Guendouzi’s court, he’d have to submit a letter of intent to FIFA should he wish to play for Morocco.