Arsenal’s former head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has questioned Mikel Arteta’s decision to discard Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira from the Gunners’ squad.
The two midfielders, both signed during the German’s spell at the Emirates, were sent out on loan this season, with Guendouzi currently playing for Hertha Berlin and Torreira joining La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
But Mislintat feels the duo could have contributed at Arsenal this season, giving the young French midfielder particular praise and suggesting he could become a ‘monster’ if coached right.
‘I respect Mikel a lot,’ Mislintat, who is now sporting director at Stuttgart, told The Athletic.
‘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.’
He continued: ‘I disagree with Pal. If you’re not playing Matteo in midfield, it must be a very strong midfield.
‘Matteo has the personality needed to demand every ball in tight situations and has great vision to play vertical and every other angle. That’s his real strength.
‘As a teenager from Ligue 2, he played 48 games for Arsenal in his first season. I assure you, you are not able to survive that amount of Premier League caps playing adolescent football.
‘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.
‘Dardai criticised him for losing the ball in the box against RB Leipzig but we want players who are brave on the ball, who can move past the pressure. Losing the odd ball is part of that. If it happens, you have to ask for the next ball, and that was what Matteo did and I loved to see it.
‘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.’