Ex-Arsenal star reveals he ‘didn’t have best relationship with Arteta’, explains decision to leave

Former Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has admitted that he “didn’t have the best relationship” with Mikel Arteta during his time at the club.

The Gunners spent around £7m to sign the centre-midfielder from Ligue 1 side Lorient in 2018.

The France international was hot-headed during his time at the Emirates. He was signed by Unai Emery, who was replaced by Mikel Arteta towards the end of 2019.

Arteta himself has proven that he is able to make tough decisions. He is more than willing to rid the club of potential bad eggs as he took the brave decision to let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leave.

Before then, he banished Guendouzi from the first-team as a result of the midfielder’s attitude problems. 

He was not selected for selection for several weeks after he grabbed then-Brighton striker Neal Maupay by the throat following Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat in June 2020.

Arteta insisted before the 2020/21 campaign that all players – including Guendouzi – would be starting the season with a clean slate.

“I told him exactly that, that he is going to be part of the team and at the moment he is like any other player in our squad.

“He deserves, first of all, to be treated exactly the same and I will do that to the best of my capability.”

Guendouzi did end up leaving Arsenal on loan that summer as he joined Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin.

The 23-year-old then signed for Marseille on loan last year before his move to the Ligue 1 club was made permanent for £11m this summer.

He has rubbished claims that his actions in the loss against Brighton were the reason why his relationship with Arteta fell apart.

“Journalists used this excuse to say that [him and Arteta] had a bad relationship and that’s why I stopped playing and left Arsenal [after the Maupay incident],” Guendouzi told BeIN Sports (via The Daily Mail).

“Not at all. It’s a gesture like many on the pitch. There’s a lot of tension sometimes, a lot of problems on the pitch. In any case, it has nothing to do with all that.”

Guendouzi went onto explain why he ended up moving elsewhere: “It’s true that I didn’t have the best relationship with [Arteta].

“Beyond that, I always tried to work, always gave the maximum of myself in training and in matches. I still play a few matches with him, I still did great performances.

“He preferred other players and I respect that decision. That’s why, afterwards, I also decided to leave because I was still young, I needed playing time to continue to progress. The most important when you’re young is to play.”

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