Matteo Guendouzi’s Arsenal career is set to reach another crossroads with the controversial Frenchman set to return to London Colney in the coming weeks.
Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin have confirmed he is set to return to his parent club after his season was ended by injury last Thursday.
Guendouzi was ostracised by Mikel Arteta last term, after he was involved in a petulant spat with Brighton striker Neal Maupay.
At the time, there were suggestions the midfielder had goaded the Seagulls players about the amount of money they earned.
Arteta gave him short shrift after that point and he spent the rest of that campaign training on his own.
He was then allowed to leave in the summer window, joining Hertha Berlin on a season-long loan.
And while on the whole it has been a positive experience – he has made 24 appearances in total – the immature and confrontational tag has followed him.
Hertha manager Pal Dardai singled out the Gunners loanee for public criticism for his overzealous antics in training.
“It’s like puberty with him,” Dardai said back in February. “He’s rebellious, beastly and always p****.”
However, sporting director Arne Friedrich spoke in more glowing terms after it was confirmed he would return to north London after suffering a fractured metatarsal last week.
“He has led the lads, played very good games, and given everything for the club,” Friedrich noted, “But the fact is just that he doesn’t belong to Hertha and will be headed back.”
At the end of this season, the 21-year-old will have just 12 months remaining on his deal, with reports claiming he will be made available for transfer.
The player himself knows that this summer is likely decisive and admitted he will hold talks with Arteta about his future.
“Next, we will have a sit down with my entourage and people at the club to think and discuss the future,” he said earlier this year.
“I am still an Arsenal player. This summer will be a decisive moment.”
The main issue for Arteta, is that the players currently at his disposal have done little to suggest they’re long-term options at the base of midfield either.
Thomas Partey was signed last summer and has flashed, but Arsenal are desperate for a partner for him and question marks remain over Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny.
It could be a case of necessity rather than choice for the Gunners boss, but Guendouzi still serves as an intriguing option for what is one of their biggest area of needs.
His impending return gives the two parties a head start on what could prove to be a pivotal summer for all involved.
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