Who is Matteo Guendouzi? The French teenage wonderkid who has joined Arsenal

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Transfer profile: Arsenal to sign Matteo Guendouzi

What can Arsenal fans expect from Matteo Guendouzi? Robin Bairner tells you everything you need to know!

Posted by Goal.com on Wednesday, 11 July 2018
The midfielder has completed his move from Lorient and Goal takes a look at the attributes he will bring to Unai Emery's squad

Arsenal have completed their fifth signing of the summer with 19-year-old defensive midfielder Matteo Guendouzi joining from Ligue 2 side Lorient.

Unai Emery had already secured the services of Stephan Lichtsteiner , Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos , while the most recent signing of Uruguay star Lucas Torreira will also strengthen a previous area of weakness for the Spaniard’s side.

The Gunners will pay in the region of £7m plus bonuses for Guendouzi after head of recruitment Sven Mislintat recommended the player to Emery.

But what kind of player is he and why were the club so keen to sign him?

Guendouzi started his career as a youth player at Paris Saint-Germain before moving to Lorient in 2014. He made his debut as a 17-year-old in October 2016 before going on to make seven first-team appearances in the top flight, completing 91.2% of his passes in his debut season.

He seemed to have nailed down a place in the starting XI in the early stages of last season after Lorient’s relegation but he was frozen out of the squad for three months after a dispute with head coach Mickael Landreau at half-time in a match against Valenciennes in November.

The lack of game time was reportedly due to Guendouzi’s reluctance to sign a new contract and reports in France suggest he has a reputation as someone who can be tricky to manage, although Lorient are not considered to have handled the situation well.

In terms of playing style, Guendouzi, who has been capped at Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 level is a physical, combative midfielder with an eye for a pass who is technically astute and capable of playing under pressure.

His main strength lies in his reading of the game with his penchant for interceptions and, although he is not a proficient tackler, he picks his moments well and usually comes away with the ball when he swoops in.

Guendouzi was one of his team’s best passers last season and is known not only for his accuracy but the danger he creates as he favours long diagonal balls or sharp passes down channels between full-backs and centre-backs.

Although quite tall, his weakness in the air has been exposed at times as he tends to get beaten in aerial battles.

Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are a few examples of Arsenal's riches in attack, but the position in front of the defence is an area they have needed to bolster for several seasons now.

He could compete with Ainsley Maitland-Niles for a place in Arsenal’s defensive midfield position and it’s likely that he will feature sporadically over the next season or so while a loan move to aid his development could also prove beneficial.

Arsenal fans should not expect too much of a player who still has a long way to develop before he will emerge as a key figure for the Gunners, but as a great learner and clear talent, they have captured a quality prospect.

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