Matteo Guendouzi’s Arsenal exit appeared to be moving closer after the French midfielder was left out of the Gunners’ 20-man squad for the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley.
Guendouzi has not played for Arsenal since being axed following a bust-up at the end of last month’s 2-1 loss at Brighton and asked for a move following a disciplinary hearing into his behaviour.
And on Saturday there were extraordinary reports emerging that he could even be on his way to Barcelona in a player swap with former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho.
Matteo Guendouzi’s Arsenal exit appeared to be moving closer on Saturday night
Guendouzi, a regular under former boss Unai Emery, has struggled to impress Mikel Arteta, but while he may not be catching his current manager’s eye he is still regarded as a top prospect around Europe. The 21-year-old is also said to be on the radar of Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Paris Saint Germain.
Guendouzi has found himself exiled at Arsenal since his ugly clash with Neal Maupay at the end of the Premier League defeat at Brighton.
The £40,000-a-week player grabbed match-winner Maupay’s throat at the end of the game and is understood to have taunted Albion’s players over how much he earns. Maupay hit back saying that the Arsenal star needed to learn some humility.
Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson insists Arteta has transformed the feel of the club. ‘He’s definitely made the dressing-room much closer,’ said the 20-year-old, who has flourished since Arteta’s arrival.
He has been linked with a sensational swap deal with Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho
‘He’s made us understand that we’re all good footballers, believing in ourselves.’
Arteta was also given a vote of confidence from club legend Robin van Persie, whose final season at Arsenal in 2011-12 was Arteta’s first at the club.
‘Mikel is finding his way in terms of how people behave, how they play,’ said the Dutchman. ‘He sets higher standards — it’s a really good start, I think. He gives younger players a chance.’
Rio Ferdinand, working alongside Van Persie on BT Sport, added Arteta has added a steel at the Emirates which should delight fans. He said: ‘If you don’t meet his standards and requirements on a daily basis, you will not be in his plans. The fans should be very pleased with that.’
Emery, sacked by the Gunners in November, could soon return to the game as manager of Brazilian giants Flamengo.
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