The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at Matteo Guendouzi’s prospects at Chelsea, with Thomas Tuchel reportedly keen on the Arsenal midfielder.
Thomas Tuchel’s arrival at Chelsea has somewhat served as the final piece of the jigsaw for the west London giants, who now have an elite manager to guide their equally strong squad. The results have been quite positive as well, with the Blues emerging as one of the best performing teams in England ever since the sacking of Frank Lampard.
While Tuchel will undoubtedly be given the license to splash the cash in the upcoming summer transfer window, an exclusive report from CaughtOffside suggests that the German tactician could make a rather bold move by setting his sights on Matteo Guendouzi.
It is believed that Tuchel is a keen admirer of the Arsenal outcast, who is currently playing his trade at Hertha Berlin on a season-long loan deal. The midfielder, though, will return to Emirates in the summer, when the Gunners are likely to cash in as he is not considered to be a part of Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans in north London.
It should pave the way for Chelsea to make a move for the French international, especially given the fact that Hertha Berlin are not expected to try and permanently secure his services in the summer, following the sacking of the previous coach Bruno Labbadia.
It has all the ingredients of becoming one of those awkward deals that could ultimately benefit all parties involved. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at the prospects of Matteo Guendouzi’s potential transfer to Stamford Bridge and whether it could make sense, not just for the clubs but for the player as well.
Matteo Guendouzi’s fall From grace at Arsenal
When Matteo Guendouzi was only beginning to make his breakthrough in the Premier League under Unai Emery, he was lauded as one of the most promising young midfielders in the league – with his aggression, industry and work-ethic serving as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dire spell for the club.
Unfortunately, the arrival of Arteta, a coach known for his stringent attitude towards discipline and “squad harmony” was perhaps not the best match for Guendouzi. Arteta’s managerial technique did not tune in well with the cocky attitude, aggression and impulsion to get into a brawl every ten minutes, which personified Guendouzi’s character as a player.
As such, the youngster was frozen out of the twice and once indefinitely, after a spat with Neal Maupay in the defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion soon after Project Restart last term. It saw him spend the remainder of the campaign on the bench before the midfielder was eventually shipped out to Hertha Berlin on a season-long loan deal.
Guendouzi’s spell at Hertha Berlin so far
Guendouzi’s move to Hertha Berlin was a somewhat exciting one as the Old Lady had shown a lot of ambition in regards to their market activity and had also signed other high-profile players like Lucas Tousart, Krzysztof Piatek in the same year.
Unfortunately, a lack of cohesiveness in the team, combined with a lack of tactical identity has seen the club struggle throughout the course of the campaign, with Hertha recently sacking their coach Labbadia as well as the sporting director Michael Preetz earlier this year.
It should, however, be noted that Guendouzi did make an impact under Labbadia, offering the urgency and the dynamism in the middle of the park. The lack of defensive solidity and productivity going forward, unfortunately, undid all their work.
Under new coach Pal Dardai, Hertha Berlin have taken a more combative and less possession-based approach, with the club from the capital largely relying on counter-attacks and a rather aggressive first line of press featuring the likes of Vladimir Darida, Dodi Lukebakio and Jhon Cordoba.
Such tactics do bode well for Guendouzi’s aggressive style of play, but at the same time, it does minimize his potential on the ball – rarely allowing him to control possession and use his technical ability to rotate possession throughout the park.
Guendouzi, nevertheless, has been one of Hertha’s better performers and given the club’s struggles this season, the midfielder certainly deserves a better club, thus bringing Chelsea into the picture.
Is he an ideal fit at Chelsea?
In order to have an idea of how Matteo Guendouzi could fit in at Chelsea, it is important to analyse the player’s style of play as well as the tactical philosophy Thomas Tuchel usually employs at Stamford Bridge.
Starting with the coach, there has been a slight deviation to Tuchel’s usual possession-based attacking football that was synonymous during his past spell at Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.
Instead, the German has embraced a more cautious approach, with one of the most noticeable deviations coming in the middle of the park, where the holding midfielders in Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic have operated closely alongside the back three.
All of these three midfielders are masters at what they do, including positional sense, passing ability and an unmatched determination to win back possession for their team.
Guendouzi brings more of the same to the table, although by varying degree and perhaps more when it comes to his over-arching style of play, including the ability to zip through the lines with laser passes and long balls that are more frequent than the three combined.
The Frenchman might be more attack-oriented when compared to the three but can certainly improve his positional responsibility. Alternatively, the 21-year-old can even be considered as a potential alternative for Mason Mount in between the lines of the attackers and the two holding midfielders.
Overall, Guendouzi’s style of play and the key strengths he brings to the table goes hand in hand with Tuchel’s tactical philosophy. His passion, aggression and ambitious traits as a footballer are also more likely to be welcomed at Chelsea – making him an ideal long-term investment for the Blues.
Unfortunately, the 21-year-old will not be an easy target by any means, knowing their arch-rivals Arsenal will be determined not to offload one of their most promising young players to direct rivals. It will be interesting to see whether the two parties can work out a potential swap deal, with the Blues perhaps offering one of their own fringe players.