Before the summer, a lot of people would not have heard the name Matteo Guendouzi. He spent a lot of his youth career at PSG, before joining Lorient to have a better chance of getting more first-team opportunities.
New manager Unai Emery and Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat had reportedly been keeping tabs on the young midfielder at their previous clubs. According to the Independent, other major European clubs also wanted his signature, but he decided to choose to go to North London.
During the summer transfer window, I had hoped that Arsenal were going to sign then-Sevilla defensive midfielder Stephen Nzonzi to provide depth in that area and bolster the midfield. Even though Lucas Torreira had already signed, I felt that Nzonzi was also needed to provide even more strength in the Arsenal midfield given it had been missing for several years. Fellow French
midfielder Guenzdouzi came in instead. However, he could prove to be a hidden gem that the Gunners have unearthed.
Guenzdouzi received a lot of praise from Arsenal supporters during their pre-season tour in Singapore, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland. His passing range and maturity on the ball really caught the eye of the supporters who went on the tour to see the Gunners.
This rich vein of form in pre-season led to the Frenchman starting Arsenal’s first league game against Manchester City, much to the pleasant surprise of the fans. He was picked over the more experienced Mohammed Elneny and new signing Lucas Torreira, playing alongside Swiss international Granit Xhaka and Welshman Aaron Ramsay. Another impressive fact is that he lasted the full 90 minutes in the game, with Xhaka and Ramsay being substituted instead.
A series of promising and consistent performances in August meant that he received Arsenal’s Player of the Month award.
However, with Granit Xhaka currently playing well with Torreira in the past month, Guendouzi’s chances have been limited. He has since been sent off in a Carabao Cup tie with Blackpool, but he continues to impress Arsenal fans with strong and mature performances.
With transfer fees for players in the Premier League spiralling out of control, it is refreshing to see a promising teenager coming to Arsenal for a reasonable fee under £10m. He has already shown that he has the potential to push on and become a major success for the North London side.
Could he be a future Arsenal legend? Or will he not fulfil his potential?
Watch this space…
Writer: Adam Jones.