Mikel Arteta has finally completed the player exodus he needed to be able to accelerate plans for the squad rebuilding process in the summer.
Marseille’s president Pablo Longoria has confirmed that Matteo Guendouzi will permanently join Marseille at the end of the season on a three-year deal following his successful loan spell with the club this campaign.
Guendouzi had a well-publicised falling out with Arteta and his way back into the team always looked a distinct possibility.
The Frenchman joins Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a group of departing players who were seen as central to some of the dressing-room problems, illustrating the process Arsenal continue to undergo on Arteta’s watch as he seeks to change the culture of his squad.
Arteta became a student of Pep Guardiola after joining the Manchester City coaching staff in 2016 and his ideology is now very similar to the Manchester City boss in terms of squad togetherness and creating a harmonious environment at the club.
Speaking on this matter, Arteta said: “If you don’t have the right culture, in the difficult moments, the tree is going to shake, so my job is to convince everybody that this is how we are going to live, and if you are going to be part of this organisation it has to be in these terms and in this way.”
And it is for this reason that Guendouzi’s time at the club was always likely to be in a perilous position once he crossed the Spaniard. The Frenchman had been constantly criticised for his well-cited attitude problems and the flashpoint against Brighton in 2020 with Neal Maupay was a case in point as accusations emerged of his attempts to belittle Seagulls players.
Arteta opted to omit him from his Premier League lineups as a result and shipped him out on loan to German side Hertha Berlin as soon as the transfer window opened.
A similar situation with Mesut Ozil followed, leading to his eventual departure to Fenerbahce. Arteta’s ‘non-negotiables’ at the club mean any such attitude issues will not be tolerated.
Aubameyang became the final part of the trilogy with a disciplinary breach that saw him stripped of the captaincy and be banished from the first-team squad before moving to Barcelona in January.
Guendouzi’s own exit completes the set and reinforces the idea that Arteta very much has his own stamp now on this group of players in a way he did not previously when he inherited a squad riddled with problems.
The Gunners haven’t played host to Champions League football since 2017 and with every year that has passed by, it has seemed that Arsenal are further away from being able to qualify until this year. Arteta has been able to build a squad that has currently put Arsenal in pole position to qualify for Europe’s elite competition.
Fans had a lot of admiration for the passion and enthusiasm of Guendouzi but the decision to sell him was the right one in order to protect the squad harmony and ensure the rebuilding process by Arteta and Edu nears its completion.
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