Monday, September 28, 2020

Arteta welcomes Guendouzi back into Arsenal fold for start of new season

SoccerNews in La Liga 11 Sep 2020

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Outcast midfielder Matteo Guendouzi is back in Mikel Arteta’s plans after holding “really positive conversations” with the Arsenal first-team manager ahead of the new campaign.

Guendouzi fell out of favour after Arteta’s arrival in December and has not featured in the squad at all since an altercation with Neal Maupay in June’s 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion.

However, he returned to first-team training this week and Arteta has opened the door for the France Under-21 international to play more of a part this coming season.

“Matteo has been training like any other player in the squad,” he said at a pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League opener against Fulham.

“Obviously it’s a new season – time is over. We had some really positive conversations with both parties, and now he’s back with the group and training really well. 

“He went to France to play with Under-21s last week, played well again, and now he’s here.”

Arsenal are in the market for a new central midfielder, with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar of Lyon rumoured to be high on their wish list.

Lyon director Juninho suggested this week they rejected the chance to discuss a deal for Guendouzi, who may have been used in a player-plus-cash move for Aouar.

But Arteta, who has already added Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian to his squad during the close season, was unwilling to discuss his transfer business further.

“I don’t know about this. I’m not going to discuss here things that happen internally,” he said. “But a lot of things they have been writing I can say they are not true.”

Probed on whether Aouar remains a target ahead of the October 5 deadline, Arteta added: “I don’t want to talk about players at other football clubs.”

Alexandre Lacazette is another player who has been touted as a possible makeweight in a deal for Thomas, but Arteta insisted the forward is not seeking a move away.

“He is really happy here and wants to keep contributing to the team,” the Spaniard said. “He knows about the competition he has with the front players. 

“The way he has been training and conducting himself has been excellent. Yes, he is very happy here.”

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