Matteo Guendouzi will join Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin on a one-year loan deal, and it could be the perfect lifeline to resurrect his fledgling career.
The 21-year-old midfielder is very highly-rated in north London, but fell out of favour after grabbing Neal Maupay's throat and reportedly bragging about his wage to the Brighton striker during Arsenal's 2-1 loss at the Amex Stadium back in June.
Mikel Arteta has favoured the likes of Dani Ceballos, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka in his midfield this season with Guendouzi yet to make an appearance in 2020/21, but it's Switzerland captain's restoration to the Gunners' starting XI that Guendouzi can take inspiration from.Xhaka's time at the Emirates Stadium appeared to be over after he reacted badly to being booed by his own fans when he was substituted in a home draw to Crystal Palace last October. However, the 28-year-old was brought back into the fold by Unai Emery and has become a regular under Arteta following a string of improved performances.
Arsenal's new Spanish coach has shown his forgiving nature and willingness to give players a second chance - Xhaka's midfield partner Elneny is another who can vouch for that - and Guendouzi has been given the perfect opportunity to profit from it.
Hertha Berlin are an exciting team with a bright future. It's a good time to be joining a club who have often been considered a sleeping giant, and they're just starting to wake up.
In June 2019, German entrepreneur Lars Windhorst purchased a 49.9% stake in Hertha, the largest an individual can have due to the 50+1 rule, signalling a new era for the club. Lucas Tousart, Krzysztof Piatek, Santiago Ascacibar, Dodi Lukebakio and Matheus Cunha are just some of the names to join Bruno Labbadia's promising revolution, with Guendouzi the latest addition.
Hertha have had a so-so start to the new campaign, with impressive performances in their victory against Werder Bremen and narrow loss to Bayern Munich at the weekend coming either side of disappointing defeats to Eintracht Braunschweig in the cup and Frankfurt in the league. Guendouzi's arrival could really kick-start their season.
It's important to remember he's still just 21 and how good he was when he first joined the Gunners, racking up an impressive 82 appearances since joining for £7.2m just two years ago. His tireless and full-blooded displays at a time when a lot of his teammates were struggling around him under Emery endeared him to fans and former players alike.
After Manchester City defeated the Gunners 3-0 following football's resumption post-lockdown, Gary Neville praised Guendouzi's attitude: "Since the moment he came into the team, Guendouzi, he has looked like a big character and a leader. He gets on the ball all the time, he shows great courage to play and he’s always demanding from his teammates."
Football fans are fickle and their memories regarding the quality of players who have donned their club's colours are getting increasingly shorter.
Guendouzi could easily be forgotten, fall into the category of a promising young player who never reached his potential and spend the rest of his days wondering about what could've been. But he's been given a lifeline. A chance to resurrect his career at a time when there's genuine hope and optimism in the red half of north London for the first time in many years. It's now down to him to take his golden opportunity.
Source : 90min