Ever since Matteo Guendouzi had a go at Neal Maupay following Arsenal’s defeat at Brighton, he hasn’t been seen near the Arsenal squad.
This isn’t the first time his attitude has supposedly riled Mikel Arteta and with strong rumours of the club being open to selling him and Guendouzi open to leaving, Jamie Redknapp doesn’t see an issue with what Guendouzi did after the game, in terms of his words, at least.
Even we have to admit he was lucky to escape a ban for grabbing Maupay by the throat.
Writing in the Daily Mail on Monday Redknapp said, “Matteo Guendouzi did not make the Arsenal squad again yesterday, but I refuse to hammer the 21-year-old for his trash talking against Brighton. He apparently brought up money with Neal Maupay.
“It’s crass, it’s unkind, but it happens. It’s happened since day dot in football and it will always happen. I’ve made comments, too. ‘Who are you? Turn around and show me your name because I’ve not got a clue who you are.’ It’s all said in the heat of the moment. A player says something he later regrets.
“So to slaughter Guendouzi for sledging, to borrow the cricket term, is unfair. He is not the first to do it, he won’t be the last. I’d rather focus on his performances. If you want to act like a big player, play like one. Let’s hope being dropped by Mikel Arteta comes as a reality check and he learns from it.”
This, of course, isn’t the first issue with Guendouzi and that, more than the single incident with Maupay, is likely to be what’s forcing Arteta’s hand as he tries to hammer home just who is boss and what sort of attitude is required from players at Arsenal.
You do have to wonder if the responsibility that Unai Emery gave the youngster immediately when he first arrived has fed into his own sense of self-importance. He was thrown straight into the first team and almost guaranteed a spot immediately.
In the season before he arrived at Arsenal he played 1,621 minutes over 21 games for Lorient. In his first season at Arsenal he played 48 times, amassing almost double the number of minutes (3,040). That included 33 Premier League games, 29 of which he started along with eight starts out of 11 in the Europa League, two out of three in the EFL Cup and one FA Cup game, again as a starter.
In total, that’s 40 starts from 48 games. Since Arteta arrived he’s started just two games out of a possible 15.
Either way, it’s clear he has a lot of talent, but also a lack of discipline that he’s not reining in as the club would like.
Real Madrid are said to be eyeing up the player who could fetch as much as £40m for a cash-strapped Arsenal this season.