June 14, 2021

Former Arsenal transfer chief Mislintat can’t understand why Arteta offloaded Guendouzi & Torreira

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The German thinks the Gunners boss made a mistake in allowing the two midfielders to depart Emirates Stadium last summer

Former Arsenal transfer chief Sven Mislintat has admitted that he can’t understand why Mikel Arteta offloaded Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira.

Arteta deemed both Guendouzi and Torreira surplus to requirements at the start of the 2020-21 campaign, with the pair subsequently securing respective loan moves to Hertha and Atletico Madrid.

Mislintat, who oversaw the duo’s arrival at Emirates Stadium in 2018, has now expressed his belief that the Gunners head coach was wrong to sanction their departure.

What’s been said?

Arsenal’s ex-head of recruitment told The Athletic: “I respect Mikel a lot. I’d love to talk to him one day, to understand his reasons for sending Matteo as well as Lucas Torreira on loan, and tell him my view in relation to their qualities.

“But it’s his decision of course. My personal opinion remains that Matteo would still add some extra qualities to Arsenal’s midfield, like Lucas could.

“Their market values increased hugely after their debut season.”

How has Guendouzi performed for Hertha?

Guendouzi became a divisive figure at Arsenal under Arteta due to his proclivity for moments of ill-discipline, with it reported that his arrogant streak caused issues with his team-mates.

The Frenchman has also courted controversy at Hertha this term, with an on-field confrontation with Matheus Cunha during a Bundesliga clash with Hoffenheim making headlines in January.

The German club’s head coach Pal Dardai has publicly questioned Guendouzi’s maturity levels while dropping him to the bench, but Mislintat believes that the 21-year-old is being mismanaged.

“I disagree with Pal. If you’re not playing Matteo in midfield, it must be a very strong midfield,” he said.

“He’s a young central midfielder. In that position, players reach their peak at 27-28. He obviously doesn’t get everything right but he plays with a decisiveness and quality that make him an extraordinary player.

“You shouldn’t try to change his game but work on the details to improve him, if you are able to do so, you make him a ‘monster’ midfielder.”

How is Torreira faring with Atletico?

Torreira’s spell at Wanda Metropolitano has been far less eventful than Guendouzi’s at the Olympiastadion so far, with the Uruguayan yet to establish himself as a regular in Diego Simeone’s starting XI.

Atletico have risen to the top of La Liga while progressing to the Champions League knockout phases, but Torreira has only made 21 appearances across all competitions – most of which have come from the bench.

The bigger picture

Guendouzi’s current contract at Arsenal is due to expire in the summer of 2022, while Torreira’s is currently set to run for an extra year beyond that.

However, it appears unlikely that either man will return to the Emirates at the end of the season, with it reported that the Gunners will listen to permanent offers for the pair when the transfer window reopens.

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