As revealed exclusively by David Ornstein of The Athletic, Matteo Guendouzi has been banished from the first team squad to train alone with a fitness coach.
Much has been said about the 21-year-old’s disciplinary issues since Mikel Arteta took over from Unai Emery as the Arsenal head coach. The first signs of trouble came at the winter training camp in Dubai, after which he was excluded from the squad which faced Newcastle United in the Premier League. The matter appeared to have been resolved, or merely shelved, as he started the next game against Everton and it was widely believed the youngster would buckle down and work harder to control his temperament from that point on.
The shadow of doubt reappeared in a big way in the unexpected defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion on June 20th, when he got into a bit of a scuffle with Neal Maupay, grabbing the Seagulls forward by the throat after the final whistle. Apparently, he hasn’t trained with the first team since and he hasn’t been involved in any of the three subsequent matches. Incidentally, he doesn’t seem to have been missed at all as the Gunners triumphed over Southampton, Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
More worrying still for Arteta and the rest of the coaching staff is that he hasn’t shown any intention of apologizing or willingness to change his attitude. Arteta held a meeting with him and technical director Edu to try and resolve the situation, but to no effect.
And it seems the coach and the club have finally run out of patience. Guendouzi’s attitude problems were known to Arsenal from his Lorient days, but it was believed that they could be eradicated with the right kind of guidance. Now, however, that belief is gone and with the summer transfer window approaching, Arteta is willing to offer him up on the market, probably in some kind of a swap deal to bolster the team’s spine.
A meeting between the club and the player’s representatives to discuss the possibilities is to be held in the coming days.