A report in L’Equipe this morning (via GFFN) suggests that Matteo Guendouzi took the opportunity during an internal meeting to let it be known he wouldn’t be against leaving Arsenal this summer.
The midfielder was let off the hook by the FA for grabbing the throat of compatriot Neal Maupay during the Gunners 2-1 defeat to Brighton last weekend. It was fully expected the reprieve would see him play some part in the 2-0 win over Southampton last night, but didn’t make the squad for what Mikel Arteta called ‘squad management’.
The Arsenal boss also hinted at some internal conflict when he denied Guendouzi’s absence was a consequence of his behaviour against Brighton.
“Whatever issue we have internally, I will resolve it in a private way,” said the Spaniard. “I explained that I cannot explain and that’s it.”
The report says that the 21 year old feels he’s not fully trusted by Arteta, and the time he’s spent on the bench is a ‘regression’ in his career.
He’s started just four of the twelve Premier League games under the new manager, and reportedly has an eye on Euro 2020 (taking place in 2021).
Arsenal, for their part, would be willing to sanction a departure if the price were right, and the contractual situation is interesting too. His current deal runs out in 2022, and it’s the exact scenario Head of Football Raul Sanllehi said Arsenal had to improve on.
“I do believe that a player’s contract should never go to the last year, as a policy,” he said in 2018.
“Normally the contracts of the players are for five years. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do with that player when he is in the third year, at the latest.”
Guendouzi signed a four deal, which means that two year point comes into play this summer. If he’s not going to sign new terms, or if the club don’t want to offer him a new contract, then a departure becomes a serious option.
Sanllehi has failed thus far to seriously improve contract management – as it stands there are still five senior players going into the final 12 months of their deals – so this will be a big test for the former Barcelona executive.
This is the second time that the Frenchman has fallen foul of Arteta from a disciplinary point of view. Earlier this season he was dropped for what was described as an ‘angry exchange’ with the boss and other coaching staff during the warm weather training trip to Dubai. Arsenal won the game he missed 4-0 against Newcastle.
Obviously stories like this can take on a life of their own, and things can get sorted as quickly as they flare up, but it does seem clear that the relationship between Guendouzi and Arteta isn’t quite 100%.
Let’s see what happens.