For Arsenal fans, the news that Matteo Guendouzi is back in the France squad will seem perplexing. Remember, this was the player who last was seen at Arsenal comparing wage packets with a player who scored the winner on the day. A hot-headed youngster with a fierce tackle and a fine pass, Guendouzi was a highly rated talent who seemed to be unable to control his temper.
A loan spell to Hertha Berlin started well but was soon made clear he would not be sticking around as player and club did not see eye-to-eye.
And despite being a Paris Saint-Germain supporter, the chance to move back to France via Olympique Marseille was a key opportunity. Playing for a team in Europe and backed by a coach with a fine history of success in Jorge Sampaoli was seen as the ideal chance to get back to playing his best football. And while it is still early into the 2021-22 season, Guendouzi has done just that. Tremendous midfield performances have become commonplace, with the youngster showing all of the talent that Arsenal signed him for in the first place.
His form has been noticed by other teams in England, though, and Marseille are set to find it hard to keep the international. Bids are set to arrive from Newcastle United as they look to add a more combative style to the middle of the pitch. Having shown he can cut it at the highest level during time at OM, then, there are some Arsenal fans who might even wish to see him back at the club.
However, a likely unrepairable relationship with Mikel Arteta means that it is likely either a return to OM or a move to Newcastle that is in the future of Guendouzi.
Guendouzi impressing in France – as is William Saliba
Arsenal have loaned out Guendouzi with the player at a low in terms of his stock value. His form in France is making it easy to recoup the fee paid for the player in the first place. One player who is making a huge difference in Marseille, though, is William Saliba. The Arsenal loanee was bought for a fee of over £25m, but was barely given at chance at the Emirates Stadium.
A loan to Nice last year was impressive, but his form for Marseille has been nothing short of outstanding. So much so that Arsenal will almost certainly look to bring the player back next summer. Unlike Guendouzi, Saliba was never loaned out with the intention of restoring value prior to a sale.
OM is a fantastic challenge for any player, with a fanbase and a general style that makes it hard for a player to thrive. Doing well for Marseille is not easy. With both Arsenal loanees such a key aspect of why Marseille are challenging for a UEFA Champions League spot again, expect Arsenal to bring back Saliba on the back of his tremendous form in France.
Guendouzi may indeed return to England, but there is a very small chance we ever plays in the red and white of Arsenal again.