Under the guidance of Unai Emery, Aston Villa are expected to make a significant bid for Matteo Guendouzi, a player the former Arsenal manager is a huge fan of.
When Arsenal signed Matteo Guendouzi in 2018, he was a teenager tipped for a big future.
Unai Emery surprised everyone by making the midfielder a key player in his first team squad, playing him 48 times in the 18/19 season, starting him in 33 of those games.
When Mikel Arteta arrived, however, things did not go well for the Frenchman.
Emery had picked the midfielder 66 times while he was manager of Arsenal, but, after he was sacked, Guendouzi only played 12 times under his new boss, and never featured again for the club after a run-in with Brighton’s Neal Maupay.
Attitude problems once again had come to the forefront for Guendouzi and he was booted from the squad.
A loan with Hertha Berlin was followed by a permanent move to Marseille in the summer of 2022.
While a few clubs are said to be interested, Unai Emery and Aston Villa are reported to be willing to pay up to €50m to bring him back to the Premier League.
Speaking back in October, Guendouzi explained why he felt he had to leave Arsenal, although I’m not sure the choice was entirely his.
“Journalists used this excuse to say that we had a bad relationship and that’s why I stopped playing and left Arsenal,” Guendouzi said. “Not at all.
“It’s a gesture like many on the pitch. There’s a lot of tension sometimes, a lot of problems on the pitch.
“In any case, it has nothing to do with all that.
“It’s true that I didn’t have the best relationship with him. Beyond that, I always tried to work, always gave the maximum of myself in training and in matches. I still play a few matches with him, I still did great performances.
“He preferred other players and I respect that decision. That’s why, afterwards, I also decided to leave because I was still young, I needed playing time to continue to progress.
“The most important when you’re young is to play.”
There is no denying that Guendouzi has all the talent he needs to be one of the best midfielders in the world and Unai Emery could well be the man to bring that out of him.
Whether Guendouzi will let him, however, is another matter.