According to Foot Mercato, Unai Emery wants to renew his relationship with Matteo Guendouzi by recruiting the Frenchman on loan for his new club Villarreal.
The 21-year-old’s days at the Emirates look to be numbered after a huge falling out with Mikel Arteta and the club are actively trying to move him on this summer. While the player is not short of suitors, the fact we’re trying to use him as a makeweight to get deals of our own over the line is proving more complicated.
The Gunners have been linked with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey and Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho; both of whom are way out of our budget on a cash-only basis.
Having struck up a strong relationship with the player during his ill-fated time in London, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Emery, appointed head coach of the Yellow Submarines last week, fancies taking advantage of the situation. Indeed, the report claims he’s already spoken to his former charge.
For Guendouzi, the opportunity to showcase his skills in La Liga, to work with a coach he knows and the prospect of rehabilitating his reputation away from the spotlight of a big club just about makes sense.
We’re not sure it does us any favours though. Yes, we’d get his wages, which aren’t that high, off the books but surely we’d be much better placed getting a decent fee for him now while his market value remains high? Do they have any players we might want? We’d probably have taken Santi back but he saw Emery coming and scarpered to the Middle East for a payday, so that’s off the cards.
There’s talk of Villarreal retaining an option to buy if they were to take him on loan, but unless they are planning on breaking their transfer record – currently £21 million for Paco Alcacer – that seems unlikely.
The report does suggest that Barcelona’s sporting director Eric Abidal likes Guendouzi’s profile, so there’s an outside chance that someone is using the Emery link to make mischief and try to hurry things along on that front.
Of course, with it being silly season, the whole thing could be nonsense.