Matteo Guendouzi has been a cult hero at Arsenal.
The young French midfielder burst onto the scene a couple of seasons ago and took the Premier League by storm. He made the toughest league in the world look like his playground at times, and many felt that he would reach the very top.
At the end of his second season at the Emirates, disciplinary issues saw Guendouzi face the wrath of Mikel Arteta. His attitude was not entertained by the Arsenal boss, and the young Frenchman was banished from the side.
Arsenal tried really hard to sell him last summer but we couldn’t find any suitors. He was loaned out to Hertha Berlin but he still has many fans in North London who would love for him to get a second chance under Arteta.
Guendouzi has now opened up about his future. He has dismissed reports that labelled him a bad boy and has sent a message to Arteta saying that he will give his all for Arsenal as long as he is at the club.
Guendouzi: I will give everything for Arsenal
He told France Football: “I’m not a bad boy, quite the contrary. If you want to succeed, you have to have a very good character, but also this personality to always want to be the best, always to want to win, to progress. It will differentiate you.
“There are a lot of very good players. Excellent people have failed to turn pro and, for these cases, the mentality has a very large part of the responsibility. My character and my personality have allowed me to do great things. It will still help me to go to the highest level.
“If I hadn’t had this character, I would never have played so many matches at Arsenal.”
Asked if his Arsenal career is over, he said: “Not at all. I am focused on my season at Hertha Berlin. Then, we will make a point with my entourage and the people of the club to ask and discuss the future. I am still an Arsenal player. This summer will be a decisive deadline.
“I belong to Arsenal for another year (until June 2022). I am here [at Hertha Berlin] to improve. From the moment that I am playing for Arsenal, I will give everything for this club, for the fans, for the team, for the staff. I will work hard for the shirt as I have always done.”
Arsenal Insider’s view:
If Guendouzi is prepared to put his head down and work under Arteta, there’s not a lot left to discuss.
The Frenchman, still only 21, is among the best young midfielders in the world.
He has everything that a footballer needs to make it to the very top, but the character he is so proud about might just make him go over the edge at times.
That definitely isn’t a bad thing to have. That mentality is exactly what makes good players great but, he needs to learn how to use it positively on the pitch when he has the ball at his feet.
Arteta demands discipline and if Guendouzi – soon to be a father for the first time – can show him that he is a changed man, there is no reason why the Arsenal boss should not give him a second chance.