Arsenal

Arsenal misfit warned by Edu and frozen out by Mikel Arteta after Dubai bust-up

Mid-season warm weather training is meant to be a time when the players, while still being put through their paces, can unwind from the pressure of Premier League football.

That was what Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had in mind in the summer of 2020. The Spaniard had only taken the reins three months prior, in what was his first ever job as a manager and he was hoping for some time away from the glare of the fans and press, to strengthen the bond between players and staff while out in Dubai.

And for the most part, it worked. Arsenal went on to win the FA Cup a few months later, but that trip also marked the end of one player’s hopes of ever forging a successful career at the Emirates so long as Arteta was at the helm. That player was Matteo Guendouzi.

Two standout incidents occurred that harmed Guendouzi’s hopes of ever staying at Arsenal for the long-term. The midfielder is believed to have had a training ground bust-up with another team-mate, rumoured to be defender Sokratis.

France Football claim that Arteta came down harder on Guendouzi, which of course enraged the young Frenchman. The row rumbled on all the way back to the team’s hotel, where a shouting match between manager and player ensued.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, that wasn’t the only time Guendouzi had to be disciplined. The second incident actually saw the midfielder get a telling off from someone higher than Arteta in the Arsenal hierarchy – sporting director Edu, who was technical director at the time.
The second incident stemmed from Guendouzi taking off his shirt and waving it around during a musical act put on for the players. Edu deemed the midfielder’s conduct disrespectful and had stern words with the former Lorient talent.

In turn, the Paris Saint-Germain academy talent was dropped for Arsenal’s first game back from the trip – a 4-0 win over Newcastle at the Emirates. What went on in Dubai also inspired then-Gunners defender David Luiz to take Guendouzi to one side and offer some advice.

At the time, Luiz was one of the father figures of the Arsenal dressing room and is believed to have pleaded with Guendouzi to rectify his attitude, improve his professionalism and cut out the temperamental episodes that were impacting morale for the whole squad. It was advice that went ignored.

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