Matteo Guendouzi’s former Lorient manager has revealed the Arsenal outcast’s poor attitude was also a big problem during his spell at the French club.
Bernard Casoni says the midfielder’s talent has never been in doubt, but insists he risks ruining his career unless he changes.
Guendouzi has been frozen out of the Arsenal team on the instructions of manager Mikel Arteta, who has had enough of the young Frenchman’s antics.
The 21-year-old has not featured in the matchday squad for any of the Gunners’ past five games, and has reportedly been training on his own for the last two weeks following his outburst following last month’s defeat to Brighton.
Guendouzi was hammered by his manager, fans, and the press after he grabbed the Seagulls’ match-winner Neal Maupay by the throat after the game, and it was later reported that he had been taunting Brighton players by bragging about his wages compared to theirs.
He had clear the air talks with Arteta following the incident, but it is claimed that did not go well and he hasn’t played since.
It is even claimed he could be offloaded by the Arsenal boss this summer as a result of his poor attitude and behaviour.
And it appears this is nothing new for the young, hot-headed Frenchman, with Casoni giving a taste of the run-ins and problems he had with Guendouzi while he was Lorient manager between 2016 and 2017.
Speaking to Guardian journalist Freddie Paxton, he said: “Guendouzi’s problem is not physical and is not technical. It’s his attitude, it’s not good for the team or the coach.
“My relationship with him wasn’t very good.
“I picked him for a cup game against Nice but he got booked early on. The ref told me at half time to warn Guendouzi: one more foul and you’re off, but in the second half nothing changed.
“I was left with no choice but to sub him off. When I did, he refused to shake my hand”.
Guendouzi featured in just one further match that season following the incident, with Casoni sacked as manager shortly after.
Ligue 1 record appearance holder Mickael Landreau succeeded him as the club’s new boss, but Guendouzi soon fell out with him as well, so badly that he was expelled from the first-team for THREE MONTHS.
It’s a striking resemblance to his current situation at the Emirates Stadium, with his future in north London now in major doubt.
But it’s not just his Arsenal spell; Guendouzi’s entire future career in football is in jeopardy unless he changes his ways, according to Casoni.
“He took his job seriously, his training was no problem, and his character is to always want to win,” added his former boss. “Sometimes when he talks it’s good. But sometimes he talks badly. He talks too much.
“His talent isn’t in question, that’s not the issue. He can be a top, top player and I think he can still succeed abroad.
“But it’s up to him to change his attitude.”
It doesn’t seem he has learned much from his past issues, though.
Fast forward from his multiple fallings out at Lorient to his two years at Arsenal, he has already acted up under ex-manager Unai Emery, been criticised by Arteta for his attitude in training, been criticised by sporting director Edu for his behaviour during a training camp in Dubai, and also fallen out with Arteta again after the Brighton debacle.
Many have suggested he should get another chance to prove himself at Arsenal, but the truth is he’s had plenty already.
Gunners legend Martin Keown is one who believes Guendouzi should be given another opportunity, but he also urged the ‘big-headed’ youngster to learn some modesty from fellow starlets Bukayo Sako, Gabriel Martinelli and Kieran Tierney.
“You could say Guendouzi has missed out on the building blocks,” began Keown. “He’s been catapulted in from a French second division team straight into the Arsenal team at 17 years old, and now Arteta is looking at the youngsters who are coming through who are behaving in the right way.
“How humble was Saka when he signed his new contract, and Martinelli was exactly the same – they are the sort of players you want.
“Clearly Arteta hasn’t liked his behaviour around the training ground and his work ethic, and when you see some of the players who seem to be so humble, the likes of Saka and Tierney… I saw Tierney getting off the team bus the other day not with a Gucci wash bag, it was a Tesco carrier bag with his gear in it!
“But everybody deserves a second opportunity, and that starts on the training pitch.
“So get your head down, work hard and toe the line – that’s all Arteta is looking for.”