Former Arsenal forward Jérémie Aliadière has claimed that he encouraged midfielder Matteo Guendouzi to sign for Arsenal this summer.
A graduate of the prodigious Clairefontaine academy, Aliadière joined Arsene Wenger's side at the age of 16. While he never reached the heights many predicted at Arsenal, Aliadiere did play alongside the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp and was a squad player in the legendary 'invincibles' season of 2003/04.
The 35-year-old former France youth international, who also played for West Ham and Middlesbrough, spent a season at Guendouzi's former club Lorient and advised the youngster over a move to London.
Speaking at the Arsenal versus Real Madrid legends match this weekend, ESPN report the striker as saying: "I knew when I first saw him [Guendouzi] that he had something special and that a lot of clubs would be after him.
"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. I thought it'd be good for him."
Aliadiere also admitted that he was slightly shocked at Guendouzi's amount of first team action this season, but is pleased for his old teammate.
"To be honest yes, I have been surprised," he said. "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.
"It doesn't matter who you are, what career you've had, he's happy to be whatever and friends with everybody. 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."