Arsenal ave confirmed that midfielder Mattéo Guendouzi, will join French team Marseille on loan with an obligation to purchase the player next summer for £10m.
Before leaving the club, Arsenal have taken up the chance to extend Guendouzi’s deal with the club for an extra year before allowing him to leave.
The reason for this, is because under the terms of his current deal, Guendouzi only has 12 months remaining on his deal before he becomes a free agent next summer. Desperate to extract some value for the talented midfielder before he leaves, Arsenal have taken up the clause in his contract to have his contract extended by a further year.
This seems to have become a fashionable contract choice for Arsenal in recent years (especially under former contracts negotiator, Huss Fahmy), with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, David Luiz, Willian, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka all signing similar deals in recent years, that provides the club with a little more wriggle room in situations like these.
The fee will no doubt be a disappointment to Arsenal fans, who perhaps expected a greater yield for a player with as much promise as Guendouzi. However, given the troubled midfielder’s current situation it is not surprising to see the reported fee as low as it is.
For one thing, Guendouzi only has (now) two years remaining on his contract and when the initial loan deal with Marseille expires, he will have only 12 months remaining, which means the club can expect a small fee for his services, a fee which also serves as an improvement on the £7m used to sign him in 2018.
Elsewhere, his attitude problems and his and Mikel Arteta’s obvious dislike of one-another has led to Arsenal getting a substantially smaller fee than the one fans would have hoped for.
The club’s seeming desperation to rid themselves of the player, coupled with the player’s own desperation to leave the club has also likely weakened Arsenal’s bargaining position.
Guendouzi’s form over the past two seasons has done little to endear him to potential buyers as well. A semi-decent spell for Arsenal was cut short by an on-field incident against Brighton & Hove Albion, whereas a brief loan spell at Hertha Berlin was marred by both injuries and the same problems rearing their ugly heads.
It seems to be the tale of the talented midfielder everywhere he goes. His stint at FC Lorient in France was marred by a breakdown in relations with his manager at the time Mickaël Landreau, who branded Guendouzi “complicated to manage and a pain on a daily basis”. This was hardly disproven at Arsenal, when an off-field incident in Dubai as coupled with the aforementioned issue against Brighton.
His time at Hertha Berlin was hardly a roaring success either, with Hertha boss Pal Dardai saying “It’s like puberty for him, he’s kind of a rebel. He has to work and learn like an animal.”, which was also coupled with a furious debate with teammate Matheus Cunha at half-time during a 1-4 home defeat to Werder Bremen.
“Complicated to manage and a pain on a daily basis”Mickaël Landreau, Guendouzi’s manager at FC Lorient.
Guendouzi’s talent is completely undeniable. He is fantastic in possession and his work out of it has improved too. However, his undeniable talent, which could even see him playing for the top clubs in the world, seems to always be usurped by his fiery temper and a total hatred of authority. Everyone can hope that he eventually grows up and learns to accept the criticisms made of him, but it looks as though Guendouzi may go down as one of football’s many what could have been stories.