Marseille coach’s comments highlight Mikel Arteta mistake amid Arsenal crisis

Marseille manager Jorge Sampaoli has been heaping praise on soon-to-be-former Arsenal star, Matteo Guendouzi.

Guendouzi joined Arsenal in the summer of 2018, following a stint in the second tier of French football.

And, despite his age and limited experience at the top level, the Frenchman showcased clear signs of promise early in his Gunners career.

However, the now 22-year-old’s form proved somewhat erratic, with Guendouzi having even been compared to a headless chicken due to his non-stop style.

Nevertheless, when Mikel Arteta first took the reins at Arsenal, the youngster was afforded plenty of game-time.

This was only until he was accused of taunting several Brighton stars over finances during a meeting back in June of 2020. In turn, Guendouzi was not afforded a single appearance over the closing months of the delayed 2019/20 campaign.

The midfielder was then loaned to German outfit Hertha Berlin for the 2020/21 campaign before then joining Marseille on loan this past summer, with a permanent deal now said to be in place between the French side and Arsenal.

Guendouzi has since gone on to impress with the French outfit, scoring three and assisting nine in 31 Ligue 1 outings. His fine form has even seen Guendouzi earn his senior France debut this campaign.

Now, when speaking before his side’s meeting with Montpellier, Jorge Sampaoli has labelled Guendouzi as one of the best midfielders in the world whilst also praising his maturity:  "He [Guendouzi] is on his way to becoming one of the best midfielders in the world.

"Guendouzi's physical condition is exceptional. He can recover very quickly, he has less risk of injury. He also managed to impose himself, which can be seen with his selection for the France team. Finally, he is the soul of the team. He hasn't progressed thanks to me, it's in general, he has matured."

Mikel Arteta’s mistake

Said comments suggest that Mikel Arteta and Arsenal made a mistake in letting Guendouzi go on a permanent basis.

It is easy to see why Arteta wanted to make an example out of the Frenchman for his behaviour vs Brighton, but putting in the option for a permanent transfer to Marseille was a mistake.

Now, Arsenal are very short-staffed in midfield and are almost certainly going to have to sign a new central midfielder in the summer.

Meanwhile, Marseille have picked up a more well-rounded, mature Guendouzi for a fairly low fee.

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Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.

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