Arsenal were totally correct to sell Guendouzi and replace him with Lokonga

How Talented is Matteo Guendouzi anyway?

After famed sporting director Luis Campos’ comment on Matteo Guendouzi, many Arsenal fans are once again wondering why we are letting a young midfielder with the Luis Campos seal of approval go.

 

I don’t want to rehash the issues surrounding Guendouzi anymore. They are real and problematic and even Campos said his maturity may be a bit lacking. That aside, however, how good is Matteo Guendouzi in terms of raw talent?

 

Matteo Guendouzi is not an advanced midfielder. He is mostly a phase specialist like Granit Xhaka who is mostly involved in what happens deep in our defensive zone and our side of the midfield. Guendouzi has a brilliant range and quality of passing for starters, along with decent dribbling ability. Those passes however mostly help to circulate and progress the ball to the opposition area. Apart from that, Guendouzi has great mental fortitude, with buckets of self-belief which makes him stand out. He is also a willing defender and is not afraid to put in a tackle or intercept the ball. He is not however exceptional in this regard.

Guendouzi

His on-field weaknesses include a tendency to hold on to the ball for too long in dangerous areas trying to win a foul. He is very undisciplined positionally as well and is always attracted to the ball. His lack of serious athleticism also makes him unsuitable to stop or prevent counter attacks in the physical English league. Coupled with his positioning issues, he can sometimes be a disaster in turnover situations.

 

The best thing about Guendouzi is his passing but that is not enough for being a deep midfielder at a top club. He will need to massively improve his positioning and athleticism to make it at a top club. A comparable talent is Billy Gilmour of Chelsea who is vastly more mobile, better positionally, just as good a passer, a better dictator of the flow of the game and almost never loses the ball, and is still expected to go out on loan next season. Meanwhile, Arsenal fans wanted Guendouzi to start in our first team. That is quite poor for a fan base who only some few years ago, enjoyed some of the best midfielders in the world.

 

Guendouzi is a great talent but will never make it to the top without fixing several aspects of his game and Arsenal were completely right to cash in on him while they could. Lower clubs may have the time, space and opportunities needed to develop him. But not Arsenal who are in a rebuild. His transfer fee will go towards securing the signing of Albert Lokonga who is a superior talent at the same age, the captain of Belgium’s premier football club and simply has more ‘Arsenal’ to his football. That is not a bad situation at all, especially in exchange for a certain French midfielder with whom we only had a 39% win rate when he starts.

Agboola Israel

Predict the score of Arsenal v Inter Milan and win a copy of “Caviar and Sausages – Arsenal in the time of Wenger”

Tags Guendouzi lokonga

26 Comments

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  1. ThirdManJW says:

    I loved his fight, and hunger, but he hasn’t really developed his overall game.

    It’s a shame it hasn’t worked out, but it’s time to part ways.

  2. gotanidea says:

    I think he’s talented and has good skills, but he’s a bit slow. Hopefully he doesn’t turn into Rabiot 2.0

  3. Eddie says:

    “Guendouzi has great mental fortitude, with buckets of self-belief which makes him stand out. ”

    This is what’s killing and delaying Nelson from reaching his potential.
    I don’t doubt he’s technically good, he was very good for the U23, but as he grew up his self-belief dwindled and he never plays to his ability anymore

    1. Ackshay says:

      Completely agree Nelson plays like a scared kid he doesn’t try to do something of fear of making a mistake. Unfortunately you can’t train mental capacity he has to find the confidence by himself.

  4. Staxhs says:

    Time will Tell

  5. Martin says:

    I agree only time will tell, but I have a feeling that both will have successful careers

  6. dazhe says:

    you are only as good as your team mate…lokonga might be good but i don’t see how his style of different from guendouzi..they both have good transitions,both slow,guendouzi defends better,guendouzi plays more risky attacking passes….lokonga only seems better in terms of attitude

  7. Adit says:

    Israel, have we sold Guen? I thought he was on loan according to the club official website

  8. Adiva says:

    Israel, have we sold Guen? I thought he was on loan according to the club official website

  9. arie82 says:

    he have skill that called “press resistance”
    not fear to hold the ball under pressure from the opposition.
    where most or all arsenal now day just pass the ball when under the pressure.
    wenger highly praise him earlier couse he player that wenger search for long time but failed to find when manage arsenal.
    he can be good as viera and diaby…..
    but not in arsenal….

  10. chris says:

    Guendouzi
    Current market value:
    €20.00m
    Last update:
    Jun 9, 2021
    Highest market value:
    €50.00m
    Dec 10, 2019

    Lokonga
    Current market value:
    €12.00m
    Last update:
    Jun 7, 2021
    Highest market value:
    €12.00m
    Mar 17, 2021

    The above are the current and highest market values of both players.
    I see that we sold a player at half their current market value (and 5 times less than his max) and bought a player of the same age for 5 (potentially 10) millions above his market value.
    One should question the decision making of Arteta and the willingness of the board to agree to potential financially harmful decisions. As i have said in the past, if you do not like the player, sell him when his value was at his highest, do not let his value diminish and then sell for peanuts. I hope Lokonga will have a huge and successful career at Arsenal, but i cant help but wonder if Guendouzi could have one too. I ve seen Arsenal players get dirty red cards, be completely indifferent, laugh while being at the bench and the team is losing, leaving us for our biggest rivals, get into fights with other players or even the fans and i am still trying to understand if Arsenal, if Arteta has judged Guendouzi fairly. To understand how it is possible for a club as huge as Arsenal to be unable to cultivate and evolve young players such as Guendouzi, Saliba (i will also add Martinelli to this list, who could have got many more opportunities after his injury) instead of buying ready made players for 5 times the fee. I am not adding Willock, Nelson, Nketiah to this list as i consider that all 3 of them should be transferred out, for different reasons.

    1. Adiva says:

      Some fan will disagree with you because they will presumably think this another dig at our coach but it not as this the area where we have looked mediocre most in recent times and not on the pitch. Imagine we sold Mavro ( a tested and trusted player and full international) for peanuts when most of the club will get €20m minimum will the kind of deal we have with “Stugart”. Chelsea just sold a kid nobody knows aside few of their fans, mostly local fans, for £20m. No wonder Roma want to mug us even though we are giving them Xhaka for free at €20m.

      1. Goonster says:

        Sorry but who decides the market value?

        Imagine if any club had paid €50 million for Guendouzi in 2019? They would be be cussing at how stupid they were for paying that much for an average player.

        Look, we paid £70 million for Pepe in 2019. That was his market value. Now tell me if you would even pay £18 million for him today?

        Just go back to last summer, we were linked to Aour for more than £45 million. Lyon refused to sell him and now look at him today a year later. He is valued at about £17-£20 million.

        This is the problem with today’s player.
        Very average but Overly priced.
        Mustafi £35 million?
        Xhaka £30 million?
        Ozil £42 million?
        Laca £56 million?
        Pepe £70 million?
        Partey £45 million?
        Auba £60 million?
        Ben white £50 million?
        Etc?

        Come on now. What would a Rosicky, Nasri, Cesc, Henry, Berkamp, Henry, RVP etc cost if they developed in this era?

        Look at David Silva, Santi, etc.. Very cheap. But imagine if they were 20-25 years old today? How much would they cost if the likes of Pepe are costing £70 million?

        The likes of Maddison / Grealish are in the £60-100 million price bracket today?

        Would many choose Maddison/ Grealish in their prime over Silva or Santi in their prime?

        Inflated market full of very average over priced players today.

        1. Adiva says:

          It will take a stupid club to sell Pepe for ridiculous price you mentioned. No wonder clubs us ridiculous price for our players with the way undervalued our players. Can you please tell me if Kai worth what Chelsea paid for him last season and if Sancho worth manu agreed to pay Dortmund for him. Pepe contributed to 17 goals,16 goals and one assists and in your genius football mind he is worth 18m now. Our fans mentality of all players not playing for us is better than ours will ruin this club. Let me ask you again, is Locatelli and Neves €20m better than Xhaka. I’m glad fans are not the one running our club because we will do far worse than those that are running it and still blame Stan for putting his money in the club

          1. Ozziegunner says:

            👍Adiva, totally agree on Pepe.

        2. Chris says:

          My friend you are confusing the concepts of market value and club valuations. These figures mentioned above are taken by Transfermarkt and they are in Euros. Also, as far as the players mentioned above, xhaka’s Transfermarkt value was at 35mil,purchased at 45, pepe was valued at 65, purchased at 80, mustafi at 30, purchased at 40. See the pattern yet? Ι do not suggest that we or any other club should pay too much attention at these prices. What I do question though is why do we always pay above these prices and see below? Why is our evaluation of our current players lower than their estimated value, while we agree to pay inflated prices for our targets? My post had nothing to do with whether we should have sold guendouzi at 50mil, that was a momentary inflation of price. But if Arteta didn’t want him, he should have sold him while he was rising, or at least before his price hit rock bottom.

    2. Val says:

      Valuations mean nothing imo

      Its not a true reflection on how much the actual ‘selling’ club value their player.

      Take Palace with Zaha, they wanted 70-80m
      was he worth that, doubtful but what if palace got relegated that season, the loss in money would have been more than what Zaha’s club valuation.

      The real difference between MG and Lokonga is Personallity, mental strength, leadership and composure

      We’re talking about a 21 yr old club captain.

      not a cry baby who grabs players by the throat and disrespects them earnings etc as he did at Brighton.

      1. Grandad says:

        Well said Val.Lokonga is highly rated by Kompany, Henri and Martinez who know more about judging players than a large majority of keyboard fans who use this site.

    3. siamois says:

      What is it with JA?do you really need to have “non so subtle” digs at every single player that leaves Arsenal or is rumoured to and tl write “bashing” negative critical.. articles about them ?can’t you just wish them well? not only does it stink of pettyness but it doesn’t reflect well on JA and I personally find it and classless!

  11. Pirate Dandy says:

    Fair point.

  12. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

    a completely premature undertaking, as only time will tell if this was a wise choice on the part of our manager, who, up to this point, has a spotty record, at best, when it comes to making team-related decisions

  13. Ozziegunner says:

    I liked Guendouzi’s fight and determination, but agree with other posters about his limitations, such as dwelling on the ball.
    He is still young and good coaching could develop him into a more specialist midfielder, rather than “a bit of everything”. I look forward to following his progress at Marseille, together with Saliba. Similarly I look forward to the progress of Lokonga at Arsenal.

  14. OnceGreat says:

    Pulling out a win percentage in regards to a player is meaningless. I read a stat by which we lost more games with Tierney on the pitch and yet none of us would want to see him gone.
    Everything else you said was spot on. It’s a pitty he wasn’t sold at a better time that would draw more value from him.

  15. Paluki Dawood says:

    This is perhaps the worst take on why Guendouzi might not be great for Arsenal. But, time will tell anyways. I’m certain like Gnabry, we will regret selling him

  16. Prof.Wenger says:

    Forget about who left, focus on who is here now, we need a playmaker and RB so bad

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