Player Profiles: Mattéo Guendouzi
As a move to Premier League side Arsenal looms, we look back at how Mattéo Guendouzi Olié hasn’t always been as in demand, covering his release from Paris Saint-Germain, as well as his Lorient struggles.
Born 15 miles from the centre of Paris, Guendouzi is part of the Parisian street football revolution. At 19 years old, he balled on similar streets to French national stars Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembélé and the new French poster boy Kylian Mbappé Lottin, and this shows, his strength and physicality at 6ft 1in is combined with deft touches and fast feet, giving him the ability to dominate games.
The Frenchman joined PSG at the age of 6, spending 9 years at the seven-time reigning champions of Ligue 1 before being released. Guendouzi was unfortunate as a high load of quality players in a similar position meant there wasn’t enough room for the French youth international.
However, his sudden departure did not stifle his progress one bit. Clubs were lining up around the corner to take in the promising holding midfielder, and an agreement was swiftly made with longtime Ligue 1 strugglers F.C Lorient. A relocation 310 miles west turned out to be the right choice for Guendouzi and his family. Years away from the hustle and bustle of Paris and a starting place in Lorient B, the youngster settled in well and by his 17th birthday, he’d taken the number 4 shirt and was becoming a firm fixture in the Lorient first team side.
Often likened with PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot due to his long, waving hair, Guendouzi is his own player. Able to sit in front of a back four and screen opponents, as well as having the capability of playing in a double pivot, this versatile midfielder is perfect for the Premier League. After rejecting a new contract following Lorient’s relegation, Arsenal are desperate to bring in another French talent to their ranks.
With a £7m fee agreed and a medical in the coming hours, Arsenal’s strong ties with Lorient seemed to have brought up another gem and Arsenal fans will be hoping that he will turn out to match or even exceed the quality of captain and former Lorient youngster Laurent Koscielny.