Arsenal are no stranger to being left over a barrel as a player’s contract runs down, but it’s a situation they need to eradicate moving forward as they look to rebuild.
The case with Matteo Guendouzi is a bit different as there’s little suggestion that Mikel Arteta wants to keep him, but you do have to think he could’ve been sold for a decent amount in different circumstances.
There’s clearly something about his character that didn’t fit at Arsenal but he’s a great all-action midfielder with energy and quality, while he’s still only 22 so there’s plenty of room for him to develop.
A player of that ilk should easily fetch £20m+ on the open market, but you do have to wonder if they’ll even manage to recoup the reported £7.25m fee that they bought him for at this point:
? L'Olympique de Marseille est très intéressé par Matteo Guendouzi, prêté au Hertha Berlin par Arsenal.
? Les négociations n’ont cependant pas encore commencé entre le club londonien et l'OM.
— RMC Sport (@RMCsport) May 29, 2021
That report from RMC suggests that Marseille are in talks to sign him so at least there is some interest, but all of the circumstances here suggest that Arsenal are going to have to accept a disappointingly low fee.
His contract is up in 2022 so that’s an issue, but it’s also reported that he’s injured and he’s unlikely to return from that until September, so it could be months into the season before he’s able to return to full fitness and actually make an impact.
That means he has little use at Arsenal but other teams know they can sign him to a pre-contract agreement in January so that weakens the Gunners’ negotiating position even further.
Clearly the plan was to loan him out to Hertha Berlin last season in the hope that he would light it up and attract a string of suitors to push the price up, but it looks like he’s gone the other way after a disappointing time in Germany.
At least he should fetch some kind of fee that can go towards the rebuild, but it’s much less than Arsenal could’ve got in better circumstances.