Sereyo Bekkink is a law student, football fan and journalist. He has a keen eye for talent and writes about them in the Dutch language on his website Tempohopper. Here on TPA you will find the English version of these articles.
This week's U21 Talent:
Name: Matteo Guendouzi
Age: 19 (14 april, 1999)
Position: Central (defensive) midfielder
Height : 1,85 metre
We all know multiple stories of academy players who couldn’t make the first team at a big club but still made it to the top. Matteo Guendouzi is one of those players. When Guendouzi was 14 years old, he left PSG after 9 years of playing in the youth academy. In a recent interview, Guendouzi said that he thought that there was not a good plan for youth players.
Guendouzi left PSG for FC Lorient, And in a very short period of time, A lot of youth watchers at FC Lorient got hyped about this player. His ability to always find the decisive pass and his brilliant technical abilities were something they did not see that often. Because of this, Guendouzi made his debut in the first team of FC Lorient when he was 17 years old, by that time, FC Lorient still played in the Ligue 1.
Even though Guendouzi made his debut at a very young age, he never became a first eleven player for a whole season. This was partly due to the fact that Guendouzi got into an argument with the manager of FC Lorient, Mickael Laundreau. After that argument, Guendouzi decided to not renew his contract, which made the board of FC Lorient decide to not give him any minutes between December 2017 and February 2018. After this period, Guendouzi returned in the starting eleven and FC Lorient tried to negotiate a new contract one more time. This did not work out, so the last 4 games of the season Guendouzi got benched again.
On 11 July 2018, Guendouzi signed a contract at Arsenal. The transfer fee was undisclosed, but according to reliable media, Arsenal paid a fee of around 8 million euro. The question is, why would you pay 8 million euro for a player that plays in the Ligue 2? I will explain this below, where you can find the analysis of Matteo Guendouzi.
Analysis Matteo Guendouzi:
Even though you can describe Guendouzi as an all-round midfielder, he’s not the average all-round midfielder. He got some special qualities that we don’t see often on the pitch. He can play on multiple positions, but in my opinion, he is on his best as a central defensive midfielder.
Guendouzi’s strongest point is without a doubt his passing+vision combination. Guendouzi got the technical ability to pass with both legs. But he also got the vision to give the decisive pass, and he sees gaps that most people don’t see.
Currently, Guendouzi plays as the most defensive midfielder on the Arsenal midfield, so he can’t really use his vision yet since there are a lot of people in front of him. Once Guendouzi can get the ball between the midfield line and the box of the opponent, that is where his passing ability can really show off.
Guendouzi plays with a flair you wouldn’t expect from such a young player. Even though he does not have a lot of experience, he plays as he has. His posture and good physique really stand out and that
combined with his technical abilities makes him really complete.
Even though Guendouzi is quite tall, his playstyle is really fluent and gracious. Guendouzi relies more on his technique than pure strength, but another strong point of Guendouzi is his perfectly timed tackle. He uses this very well in situations when he has to defend counterattacks of the opponent.
Despite his high-class passing and vision, Guendouzi isn’t a finished product yet. Sometimes he takes to much risk at places on the field where you shouldn’t take any risks. Guendouzi has got to learn
when to play risky, and when to just go for the safe pass. Because Guendouzi is only 19 years old, I think it’s just a matter of time before Guendouzi learns this.
Expectation Seréyo Bekkink:
Matteo Guendouzi got everything that’s needed to succeed at the best clubs in the world. At such a young age, he is already a stable factor at the first team of a top 6 Premier League team. If Guendouzi keeps developing like he’s doing right now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the starting eleven of the national team of France during the Euro 2020.
Do you wanna judge Guendouzi yourself? Check some of his highlights below!