Arsenal signed Matteo Guendouzi in 2018 from Ligue 2 side Lorient and, in the opening campaign, were certain that they had uncovered another Ligue 1 gem. The Frenchman featured a whopping 48 times as he took to Premier League football under Unai Emery like a duck to water, but struggled when Mikel Arteta took over.
Left out for various disciplinary and injury issues, the then 20 year old midfielder spent the 2020-2 season on loan at Hertha Berlin, before departing this summer for Marseilles on an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy.
While undoubtedly talented, it is his off the pitch issues that make him such a timebomb for managers, and something Arteta felt he could not have in his Arsenal squad.
Guendouzi opens up ahead of potential debut
Ahead of his potential national team debut this evening against Belgium in the nations league semi-final, Guendouzi sat down with Onze Mondial for an exclusive interview.
Never lacking in confidence, the Frenchman was quick to outline his aims:
“I want to write a story with the France team. It’s great to be there in the first place. I’m very happy, but I want to get as many caps as possible, to bring something to this team and stay over the long term. I’ve accumulated a lot of games with the youth teams, and was notably captain. I have a very good relationship with the France team in general. It’s really a source of pride to be there”
The 2022 World Cup is an objective, it’s in my head. It’s in my head. My turn will come through hard work. I am confident.”
Guendouzi continued, touching on his decision to join Marseilles this summer:
“Before coming to Marseille, I had many options. Talking to president [Pablo] Longoria and coach [Jorge] Sampaoli was what convinced me. I immediately said, “I want OM”. First of all, Marseille is the biggest club in France, the club has won the Champions League, it has a great history. It has the most fervent support in the country.
All of these aspects made my choice clearer. I like to play in a full stadium when I’m at home. I like feeling the supporters’ true love for the club. That’s what I’ve found here. I haven’t been this happy since the start of my career.”
The last two sentences, including the supporters “true love”, certainly appear to be subtle digs at his time spent at the Emirates Stadium.