Matteo Guendouzi left Arsenal for Marseille on loan this week, but there’s some confusion over whether it’s a loan with an option or an obligation.

Matteo Guendouzi signing for Marseille (Photo via OM.fr)
Matteo Guendouzi signing for Marseille (Photo via OM.fr)

Before Matteo Guendouzi’s loan move to Marseille was made official, reports suggested he would be joining on a one-year loan with an obligation to buy at the end of it, totalling around €12m for Arsenal.

But the confusion came when the deal was officially announced, with Marseille claiming it was an option to buy, not an obligation.

Simon Collings of the Evening Standard clarified that he understands it’s not officially an obligation, but the clauses to make it permanent are so achievable that, in practice, it’s more of an obligation than an option.

Collings compares it to Konstantinos Mavropanos’ deal with Stuttgart, which is an obligation to buy as long as Stuttgart stay in the Bundesliga.

I’d also compare it to Ben Sheaf’s loan to Coventry City with an option last summer. The Coventry boss admitted it was effectively an obligation to buy if he fulfilled certain conditions during his loan. He did, and recently completed his permanent move.

The reality is that Guendouzi will almost certainly move to Marseille next summer. But it’s seemingly more accurate to call it an option to buy, for now.

Speaking to the media after the deal was made official, Guendouzi said, “I played when very young at PSG, but I lived in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, it was just the club in my city, I represented it. Today I am focused on Marseille, I am here for the club, the fans, the people of Marseille, and I have already been shown love here, I want to give them back to the field by wetting the jersey.

“Marseille is an historic club, one of the biggest in Europe. I was really drawn to the project from my discussions with the president and coach Sampaoli.

“I felt confidence on their part. We immediately talked about football, we had a good feeling. I sincerely thank Pablo Longoria, he did a lot for me to come here.”

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