Official: Arsenal seal midfielder’s sale for €10-11m fee

On Friday afternoon, as we all waited on news that Gabriel Jesus had officially signed, Arsenal announced the departure of Matteo Guendouzi.

Earlier this month, Fabrizio Romano reported that the deal for Matteo Guendouzi to leave Arsenal for Marseille was sealed for around €10/11m, after clauses in his loan contract were met – effectively confirming what we’ve known for a while.

That all followed comments from Guendouzi reaffirming that he would be joining the Ligue 1 side, in which he also spoke about William Saliba.

The rumours surrounding Saliba’s future were just starting to die down over those few weeks, with public statements from the player and Mikel Arteta that he would return to Arsenal, and insider media reports suggesting the same thing.

Yet, Matteo Guendouzi clearly isn’t happy with the way the situation is playing out, so he told Telefoot he thinks Saliba will come back and he’s going to try and make that happen.

“William now has Marseille in his heart and I am sure that he will come back to Marseille next season,” Guendouzi said. “So I am going to try to push again for him to stay with us.”

On the one hand, it’s no real surprise that Guendouzi is keen for Saliba to stay with Marseille. The centre-back had a strong season in France, and they’ll be worse off without him.

But to claim to be “sure” Saliba’s returning when he’s just told the media he’s going back to Arsenal comes off as a bit desperate. To publicly confirm you’re planning to try and convince a player to leave your old club is petty at best.

L’Equipe reported that Arteta has told Saliba he’ll be counting on him next season, and Arsenal are talking about the possibility of a contract extension.

The centre-back is still under contract until 2024, whether he extends or not, and recent quotes from the player suggest he wants to make an impression with his parent side.

“I belong to Arsenal,” Saliba said. “I still have two years left. I will be at pre-season with Arsenal.

“I have played zero matches and I still want to show them my true face and have the chance to play for these fans and this great club.”

Arsenal’s reported desire to keep Saliba seems to be backed up by Arteta’s recent quotes on the subject, speaking to RMC Sport.

“He has to come back,” Arteta said. “He has the experience and the necessary environment to be competitive with us.

“If he had stayed with us this year, with one Premier League game a week and with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn’t have had half the game time he had with Marseille, that’s for sure.

“In terms of his growth and what he could do next year, it wouldn’t have been good. William wasn’t with us because he wouldn’t have had the playing time required to gain experience. That’s it, nothing else.”

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