By 90Min
August 16, 2018

Arsenal starlet Matteo Guendouzi has revealed that while Thierry Henry's status as a Gunners legend and icon in France was an important factor in choosing the club, it was a conversation with a much lesser known former player that made him feel 'confident' opting for north London.

It has been widely reported that Guendouzi, who completed a £7.5m move from Ligue 2 side Lorient earlier this month and started the opening game of the Premier League season against Manchester City, had interest from Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.

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He had previously spent nine years in the youth ranks at PSG, but the lure of Arsenal was seemingly too big to tempt him back to his former club.

"It's true there were a lot of clubs interested in me," the player is quoted as saying by the Evening Standard. "I had talks with some of the biggest clubs in Europe, but as soon as I heard from Arsenal, the decision was very simple and I'm very happy to be here."

One key influencing factor in that was Jeremie Aliadiere sharing his experience of Arsenal.

The now retired 35-year-old striker found fame as an emerging young player at Arsenal during the early 2000s, playing a handful of games for the club interspersed with loans at Celtic, West Ham and Wolves, before eventually leaving for good to join Middlesbrough in 2007.

After a less than prolific spell on Teesside, Aliadiere later returned home to France to join Lorient, and it was during his time at the Brittany-based club that he encountered Guendouzi.

Aliadiere's final season at Lorient in 2016/17 coincided with Guendouzi's maiden campaign at first team level and it appears that the pair remained in contact.

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"I did speak to Jeremie about Arsenal and he said it's a place where I can progress and learn a great deal from the staff here. He always spoke very positively and that made me feel very confident in the choice that I'd made," the youngster explained.

"It's the club of my heart. There have been a lot of French players here and Thierry Henry is a symbol in France after his long career here. I used to watch Arsenal games with my father and it has a special place in my heart."

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