This summer, Arsenal have been looking for a young, prospective midfielder to add to their squad.
Having failed to sign PSG’s prodigy Yacine Adli, their attention turned to a Lorient defensive midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.
Guendouzi is said to be on the verge of an £8 million move to the Emirates Stadium and could be unveiled as Arsenal’s newest signing as early as today, alongside Uruguay’s Lucas Torreira.
RealSport have looked at what Guendouzi can offer the Gunners.
First team experience
Similar to Adli, the 19-year-old Frenchman is a PSG academy product. In 2014, he left for Lorient, being promoted to their senior team two years later.
As a result, Guendouzi has already had two years of senior football experience under his belt in both Ligue 1 and the French second tier – Ligue 2.
Despite his Moroccan origin, he’s also represented the French youth national teams at all levels from under-18.
The midfielder, reminiscent of Marouane Fellaini in terms of looks thanks to his characteristic curly hair, may not be rated as highly as Yadli but he is approaching the finished product but with room for further development.
Good in attack and defence
Up until this point, Guendouzi has played for Lorient in central midfield. He’s also been tried in both more defensive role as well as further up the pitch, playing as a box-to-box midfielder.
The Frenchman reads the game well and excels at recovering the ball so he can either pass it to more offensive-minded teammates or run forward himself.
On top of this, he enjoys having the ball at his feet and his performances show that he can take the responsibility during the build-up of his team’s offensive play.
Despite being 6 foot 1, Guendouzi is agile, has good balance and the first touch that allow him to create space and pass through opponents even though he’s not a dribbler. Those offensive runs and breakaways seem to be a characteristic feature of his game and can suit the offensive football that Unai Emery wants to implement at Arsenal.
The Frenchman’s physicality, though, might make his beginnings in England difficult. Guendouzi seems to be pushed over easily when challenged by more muscular opponents. He will need to bulk up and work on his pace if he is to adapt to the intensity of Premier League football.
Interestingly, Guendouzi was involved in a halftime bust-up in November during the game against Valenciennes. Lorient manager, Mickael Landreau, suspended the midfielder for 10 games following the incident.
Guendouzi also failed to agree terms with Lorient in contract negotiations having had his financial demands rejected. His current contract with the club expires next year.
One for the future
Matteo Guendouzi is the newest discovery of the Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat. Unai Emery himself has also talked to the player, according to L’Equipe, and convinced him to join the North London club.
Having added experience to the Gunners’ squad this summer, Arsenal view Guendouzi’s signing as one for the future and it is unlikely he will be given many opportunities to play in the first team.
However, the Frenchman seems like a good investment who can also support the team in domestic cups or possibly in the Europa League.
His game caught the eyes of scouts in France and, considering Guendouzi was spotted by the eagle-eyed Mislintat, Arsenal fans should be excited to follow the development of their newest signing should he passes his medical.
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