Arsenal are going back to familiar foothills in their recent link to Papa Gueye. But all you need to know about this guy has already been learned.
There used to be a running joke at Arsenal that Arsene Wenger solved every problem with a unknown teenage French creative midfielder. No matter the need, that’s who he would sign. It was exciting for awhile, but it grew stale when literally none of them panned out.
These memories were kicked up again when Unai Emery went and signed Matteo Guendouzi from Ligue 2. Guendouzi was unknown, he was a teenager, he was French. But he cost £7m, far more than any such players Wenger used to sign.
Since then, Guendouzi has been a revelation. He has reminded us that there is quality to be found in these lower leagues as long as you know how to look for it. And that being the case, the links to Papa Gueye, the Le Havre defensive midfielder, should be met with all the optimism that currently surrounds Guendouzi.
Three years ago, links to Gueye would have been met with eye rolls, but all you need to know about Gueye, for now, is that he’s a physically strong defensive midfielder from the same league where we got Guendouzi.
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What else could you possibly need? I won’t get into how Gueye is supposedly a mix between Kante and Pogba. You all know I hate comparisons like that. But I will get into how Gueye is going to cost £5m, he’s 21-years-old, and he’s physically imposing.
I realize that just because Guendouzi came from Ligue 2 doesn’t mean that everyone who comes from Ligue 2 is going to be golden. But Guendouzi has reminded us that there is gold to be found in these lesser divisions. Gold that other teams don’t necessarily go for because they like to spend stupid money on established stars rather than turning up new talent themselves.
I’m beyond excited for Gueye. I’m ready for him to be on the club yesterday. I had flirted with the idea of a Denis Zakaria, but he’s too established. Let’s go way off the beaten path, save all that money, and look like geniuses for a second time. I like that idea much better.
If you don’t know a lot about Gueye, that’s okay. I don’t either. But optimism is a powerful tool, and Guendouzi saw to it that this is a link that we can be optimistic about.