Former Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere says he persuaded Matteo Guendouzi to join the Gunners ahead of rival suitors.
The former Arsenal forward who played 51 times for the north London club between 2001 and 2007, revealed that he urged Guendouzi to sign for the Gunners.
The French midfielder joined Unai Emery’s side this summer from Ligue 2 club Lorient for a fee thought to be in the region of £8m.
Aliadiere was played with the 19-year-old at the French club and admitted that he pushed his former team-mate to head for Arsenal ahead of other clubs that were interested.
Guendouzi, who grew up watching Frech stars such as Thierry Henry play for Arsenal, had offers from both Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain but instead chose to move to England.
Aliadiere believes the youngster has all the ability needed to be a massive success in the Premier League.
“I knew when I first saw Matteo that he had something special and that a lot of clubs would be after him,” he said.
“I said to him that for his development Arsenal would definitely be the right place for him. You can go to big clubs and never get a chance but Arsenal always give you a chance to their young players.”
Guendouzi’s rise has been all the more impressive as he continues to keep the Gunners marquee summer signing Lucas Torreira out of the starting XI with the teenager proving a shrewd investment.
Mattéo Guendouzi for Arsenal in the Premier League so far:
• Most touches (139)
• Most interceptions (9)
• Most tackles (8)
• Most fouls won (6)
He's the youngest player to feature for them. ✊ pic.twitter.com/yAofDZAHeA
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 20, 2018
Emery has already described him as a “very big, positive surprise” as the midfielder has started all four of Arsenal’s Premier League matches so far. The manager is not the only person surprised by how quickly Arsenal’s player of the month for August has settled into Premier League life.
“I have been surprised [how much Guendouzi has played since joining Arsenal],” Aliadiere told Standard Sport.
“When I saw him joining the club I didn’t expect him to start straight away, I thought it would take him a bit of time to adapt but he’s such a confident lad.
“When I was playing with him at Lorient you could see that, on top of having the talent, he’s just so confident in himself.”
Guendouzi has already reportedly formed a close bond with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette and has swiftly integrated himself into the squad.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, what career you’ve had, he’s happy to be whatever and friends with everybody,” Aliadiere added. “He’s just a nice and happy guy to be around. I’m not surprised he’s getting on with everyone in the dressing room.”
Arsenal face Newcastle up next at St. James Park having won two and lost two of their opening four Premier League matches.