Arsenal have announced that Mattéo Guendouzi has joined Hertha Berlin on loan for the remainder of the 2020/21 season. The German side will not be paying a loan fee, but will cover the entirety of the Frenchman’s wages, similar to the situation that Arsenal have with Dani Ceballos, Hertha Berlin do not have a purchase option in their loan deal for Guendouzi. Guendouzi passed his medical in Germany early Monday morning.
Arsenal’s desperation to move Guendouzi on this summer has been well-known, with most of Arsenal’s main transfer targets being subjected to bids including the Frenchman.
Guendouzi’s time with Arsenal has not been without controversy; the French midfielder already had a reputation for diva-like behaviour prior to making the switch from Lorient in 2018, however, his style on the field has also led to indications of the midfielder’s short temper, erratic tackles and a notable penchant for petulance.
In fact, Guendouzi’s behaviour at Lorient left to a period of prolonged exile from the senior set up barely into his senior career, following a bust-up with Lorient boss Bernard Casoni for failing to shake the manager’s hand following a second-half substitution in Lorient’s match against Nice.
Things did not improve from there and he soon fell out with Casoni’s replacement, Mickael Landreau, a feud that was so bad that it led to Guendouzi being kept out of the team for a full three months.
However, he was soon signed by Arsenal’s then Head of Recruitment, Sven Mislintat, who scouted him extensively while at Borussia Dortmund.
Guendouzi was an ever-present fixture in the Arsenal side under Unai Emery, who for all his faults, believed heavily in Guendouzi’s undeniable talent and pushed hard for him to be included in the first-team set-up more often.
Guendouzi managed to retain his position in the side following Emery’s departure and was usually rotated in the midfield with Lucas Torreira in Mikel Arteta’s early days with the club.
Things came to a head in January of 2020, when Guendouzi had to be reprimanded by Technical Director Edu for his actions during one of Arsenal’s mid-season tours in Dubai. Since then, Guendouzi has found himself under the ever increasingly watchful eye of Mikel Arteta, who has kept an eye on the Frenchman.
Things came to a head for Guendouzi in June of 2020, when Guendouzi grabbed Brighton & Hove Albion striker Neal Maupay by the throat following his challenge on Bernd Leno.
Though the incident was already out of line with what Mikel Arteta expects from his players, Guendouzi’s lack of remorse and his stubborn refusal to apologise in a follow-up meeting with both Arteta and Edu led to Guendouzi’s exile from the team.
Guendouzi was a notable absentee from the side as Arsenal lifted their fourteenth FA Cup and was conspicuous only by his absence in Arsenal’s most recent games.
Though Guendouzi has since rejoined the Arsenal training sessions and his teammates, it is clear that Mikel Arteta does not count on the youngster, a loan away may give Arteta the chance to really see what he can do and re-evaluate his position at the club upon his return.
Guendouzi is set to become the first of many departures on deadline day, with Lucas Torreira scheduled to be loaned out to Atlético Madrid, with Arsenal’s incoming business looking likely to be done.