In 12 months time Marseille will sell Matteo Guendouzi for a huge profit.
Having played his 38th game for the French side, the clause to make the deal permanent for £9million from Arsenal was triggered.
Arsenal are losing a good player for way below his market value, but it is still a deal that is good for the club.
Guendouzi is a troubled soul.
There is a reason why last season there was no club interested in him despite Arsenal happy to take a cut price deal.
After a good first season at Arsenal in 2018/19, he was one of the hottest prospects in European football. Transfermarkt valued him at £45million.
At the time he was comparable to Declan Rice. A 20-year-old midfielder with the physical and technical attributes to make it.
But as Rice’s star has continued to rise, Guendouzi’s has fallen.
A tough second season at Arsenal was marred by childish behaviour and fallings out with different managers and coaching staff.
Whilst he is was physically a man, he was clearly mentally immature.
His behaviour led him to be loaned out to Hertha Berlin for the 2020/21 season. Meanwhile Rice was being made vice-captain of West Ham and establishing himself as an England regular.
Guendouzi did not exactly set the world alight in Germany, and his discipline issues kept raising their head.
Summer 2021 hit and whilst Rice was helping England make the European Championships Final, Guendouzi was searching for a new club – and there were very few takers.
He ended up on the French south-coast; Marseille.
But even they were unwilling to make the deal permanent – agreeing a loan deal that would only go permanent if he played a certain amount of games.
Whilst this summer, Rice will be pursued by some of the biggest teams in Europe for a transfer fee worth in excess of £100million, Guendouzi will be joining a 2nd rate team in a 2nd rate league for £9million.
A quick look at Transfermarkt shows they value Guendouzi at £18.6m. Rice £67.5million. A difference of nearly £50million.
Back in December 2019, their value differed just £5million.
Guendouzi and Rice were around the same level in 2019, and the same potential. Rice has kicked on, Guendouzi has not.
Another good year in France for Marseille, keeping his head down and behaving will lead to him getting a big move.
He will be back to being valued over £40million and Marseille will cash in.
Arsenal will then be criticised by some corners for letting a player go so cheap.
But the other side of the coin is that a leopard never changes his spots. That when he gets that big move, he struggles with the increase in pressure and expectation. That he will not like being told what to do and the petulant behaviour rears its head.
Mikel Arteta is clearly building a team of a certain type of character. Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, Martin Odergaard.
Guendouzi does not fit in with these guys.
Albert Lokonga has replaced Guendouzi as the “bright young midfielder”. We now need to be buying better than Granit Xhaka to improve the squad. Matteo is not that.
Pocket the money, and continue the positive investment.