Aston Villa boss Emery makes ex-Arsenal maverick his ‘priority’ with bid ‘likely to arrive’

Unai Emery and Matteo Guendouzi during a press conference Credit: Alamy
Unai Emery and Matteo Guendouzi during a press conference Credit: Alamy

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery is keen to reunite with former Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi with Marseille ‘likely’ to receive a bid, according to a report.

Emery signed Guendouzi during his time as Gunners boss, bringing him in from Lorient for around £8million.

It all began to go downhill for the Frenchman at the Emirates when Emery was sacked in November 2019.

He was replaced by his compatriot Mikel Arteta, who was not a big fan of Guendouzi.

The 23-year-old played in Arsenal’s first two games following the resumption of the Premier League season in June 2020.

However, the second of those matches against Brighton ended up being his last for the club after he grabbed Neal Maupay by the throat at full-time of the 2-1 defeat.

Unsurprisingly, that fell under the category of non-negotiables, and Arteta wanted nothing to do with the player in what proved to be the last straw after one or two other incidents.

Speaking in October, Guendouzi admitted his relationship with the Spanish manager was not “the best”.

“It’s true that I didn’t have the best relationship with [Arteta],” he said.

“Beyond that, I always tried to work, always gave the maximum of myself in training and in matches. I still play a few matches with him, I still did great performances.

“He preferred other players and I respect that decision. That’s why, afterwards, I also decided to leave because I was still young, I needed playing time to continue to progress. The most important when you’re young is to play.”

A move back to the Premier League has the potential to be very entertaining, with Guendouzi and Emery poised to reunite for a revenge tour after their sour Arsenal exits.

According to French outlet Foot Mercato, Guendouzi has received some ‘concrete proposals’ from England, with Aston Villa ‘hotter’ than the other clubs in the race.

The Villans are yet to lodge a bid to sign the midfielder, though ‘it is very likely to arrive’ this month.

Emery ‘very recently’ contacted his former player and ‘appreciates’ him and even tried to sign the France international during his time in charge of Villarreal.

It is stated that the ex-Arsenal boss has made Guendouzi his transfer ‘priority’ for the January window with Marseille expected to ask for at least €30million.

Marseille CEO Pablo Longoria has already made it clear the player is not for sale this month.

However, a potential replacement in Angers playmaker and reported Leeds United target Azzedine Ounahi is mentioned in the story.

Guendouzi played 57 Premier League matches for Arsenal and was a part of their 2020 FA Cup-winning squad, although he did not play in the quarter-final, semi-final and final after the incident with Maupay.

The 23-year-old made one appearance for France at last year’s World Cup, playing 79 minutes of Les Bleus’ group stage loss to Tunisia.

He has greatly impressed for Marseille since joining from the Gunners ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, helping the Ligue 1 side qualify for this season’s Champions League.

READ MORE: Ranking the ten worst January signings in Premier League history, including funniest swap ever

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