Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been described as ‘open to offloading’ midfielder Matteo Guendouzi at the end of the season as a result of the player’s behaviour and attitude.
Guendouzi is believed to have taunted Brighton players over salaries and spending power during Arsenal’s loss to the Seagulls on Saturday, while he later grabbed goalscorer Neal Maupay by the neck at the end of the game as frustrations and tempers boiled over.
The 21-year-old was fortunate to escape an FA charge but the incident has raised fresh questions over his long-term Arsenal future under Arteta, who was used to being part of a slick winning machine in his former position as assistant manager at Manchester City.
The Daily Mail suggests that Arteta is considering cutting Guendouzi loose as the Brighton clash was the latest in a string of incidents that have highlighted a lack of maturity and focus.
At a time when Arsenal are in desperate need of a culture reset if the club is to avoid Arteta’s grave warnings about being cut adrift from the rest of the Premier League’s big sides, it is vital that the whole squad is focused and all pulling in the same direction.
The Mail claims Arteta is ‘privately unimpressed’ by Guendouzi and is demanding better behaviour from the squad as a whole. The report goes on to explain that Arteta had his eye on the young Frenchman early in his reign after catching him while re-watching video of training sessions messing about and not focusing when the boss’ back was turned.
It is therefore considered not to be a coincidence that Guendouzi, who was a regular starter under Unai Emery, has been in and out of the team since Arteta took over in December.
Asked about Guendouzi’s behaviour against Brighton ahead of the Gunners’ next game against Southampton on Thursday, Arteta hinted they were not actions befitting of an Arsenal player. However, he also suggested it at least showed there is fight and spirit in him and others.
“My job is to make sure that we all behave in relation to the shirt that we wear. What happens on the pitch, I played for 17 years and it stays on the pitch because you can mould and change in words and context very easily and you shouldn't be doing that at all,” Arteta said – Arsenal.com.
“But obviously we showed frustration. In a way I like it, because it means that we care about losing and we don't accept any defeats. But I like that reaction earlier rather than after football games.”