Matteo Guendouzi was dumped from Arsenal’s squad – and it could raise question marks over his long term future.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta admitted that it was a “tactical” decision not to pick Guendouzi for Arsenal’s win over Newcastle.
But Arteta was not impressed with Guendouzi while on the club’s mid-season break in Dubai and his exclusion was a clear message to the French midfielder.
Arteta stresses that he picks every team based on what he sees in training and Guendouzi clearly did not do enough and lost his place.
Guendouzi is a firm fans’ favourite but will have to convince Arteta that he is worth his place in the starting line-up.
Arteta knows that he will have to shake up his squad this summer and sacrifice players before he can buy and Guendouzi would attract interest if Arsenal decide to put him on the market.
Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos was the preferred option in central midfield against Newcastle, and was instrumental in the second-half rout.
Lucas Torreira replaced the Spaniard late on, with Ceballos on the receiving end of huge applause from the Gunners faithful.
Arteta said after the match: “Dani Ceballos is a good example. He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough.
“He completely changed his behaviour and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch.”
With Granit Xhaka also performing well in the 4-0 victory, Guendouzi’s chances going forward could be limited.
The Frenchman may be handed an opportunity in the Europa League ties with Olympiakos in the coming weeks.
But given that is currently Arsenal’s best chance of qualifying for Europe next season, Arteta is likely to select a strong side, meaning Guendouzi will need to work hard to impress his boss.
Guendouzi said earlier this month: “I have been able to show that I can perform well so I now need to be consistent, always help the team, always give it my best and always play well on the pitch.
“I think I improved and that my level increased a lot this year. I really think that I have hit many milestones and moved up a good few notches.
“I am even better than last season. My objective is to always keep making progress and that is what I will do in the years to come, keep on improving so I can be the best.”