Mikel Arteta sent a message to Matteo Guendouzi amid Arsenal captaincy issues

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta faces a dilemma over the club’s next captain after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was dismissed – with Marseille boss Jorge Sampaoli sending a strong message to Matteo Guendouzi.

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Mikel Arteta has been told he’s fired a ‘natural leader’ in Matteo Guendouzi – amid Arsenal’s captaincy issues.

The French midfielder is currently spending the season on loan at Ligue 1 club Marseille where he has impressed with his performances and leadership qualities.

The Gunners are currently without a club captain after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was sacked last month.

Alexandre Lacazette is the current armband wearer for the North London side, but is not an undisputed starter for the side and is out of contract at the end of the campaign.

There is a lack of clear candidates for the role in Arteta’s first team as Granit Xhaka has already been dismissed.

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Guendouzi has starred in Marseille’s impressive Ligue 1 campaign to date

Marseille boss Jorge Sampaoli has now hailed the leadership qualities Guendouzi has shown at the French club this season.

The midfielder had made 82 appearances for the north London side in all competitions and looked set to have a bright future at the club, but is now in the second of two loan deals away from the Emirates.

Marseille are climbing high in Ligue 1 this season with 36 points from 19 league games, which puts them in third place, while they are two games behind the teams around them in the table.

Sampaoli told a press conference, in quotes carried by GFFN: “Apart from his youth, Matteo has a special energy. He has the desire to win and he is a natural leader.

“We imagined that would be the case but that it would happen over time. To see that in addition to his performance, we have an energy that everyone can envy.

“It’s contagious and it’s a very important value in life. Experience is important for everyone, but for young people sometimes difficult events are not good experiences.

“There is also personal capacity on the mental side.

“Guendouzi, for example, he’s 22 but he acts like he’s 30. The most important thing is maturity.”

The 22-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Lorient in 2018, spent last season on loan at Hertha Berlin, making 24 appearances and scoring two goals before injury cut his campaign short.

He then joined Marseille on a season-long loan while the Ligue 1 club have the option of buying him permanently this summer.

Guendouzi remains unlikely to return to Arsenal due to his apparent fallout with Arteta, who went on to secure the signings of Thomas Partey and Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Guendouzi made his international debut for France earlier this season when he appeared for Les Bleus in a World Cup qualifier against Finland in November.

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