Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has finally been brought back in from the cold by manager Mikel Arteta, with the Frenchman once again allowed to train with the first team.
Guendouzi and Arteta had a major falling out at the end of last season following the youngster’s clash with Brighton striker Neal Maupay, having grabbed the forward around the throat.
Although he avoided a suspension, Arteta opted to discipline Guendouzi anyway – though the 21-year-old was fuming with his manager’s reaction having felt he was defending his teammates.
Earlier in the match, Maupay had pushed over goalkeeper Bernd Leno which resulted in a gruesome injury for the German shot-stopper, who did not play again that season.
Arsenal had eight more matches after their defeat to Brighton but Guendouzi was not involved in any of them, not making a single matchday squad or even attending Wembley for the FA Cup final, with Arteta forcing him to train with the youth team until he had learnt his lesson.
But Arteta’s actions did not have the intended effect, with Guendouzi – whose behaviour had got him in trouble previously – instead pushing to leave the club.
But with no suitable offers forthcoming, and Arsenal so far unable to bring in top midfield target Thomas Partey, Guendouzi now looks set to be given a chance to win back Arteta’s favour.
Having reported back to London Colney after the international break, Guendouzi was involved in first-team training on Wednesday for the first time since June – nearly three months ago.
Guendouzi sent a pointed message after his outings for the France Under-21 team, writing on social media: ‘Two games, six points! Proud of my team. Now, let’s go back to work Arsenal!’
Wednesday’s session was the first with the entire first team squad all together, though David Luiz – who has been struggling with a neck injury picked up in the Community Shield – was not present as the team gear up to take on Fulham on Saturday in their first game of the new Premier League season.
Arteta will speak to the media on Friday at his pre-match press conference, with Guendouzi’s return to training undoubtedly one of the many topics he will be quizzed on.
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