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Matteo Guendouzi claims he was courted by several of Europe’s biggest sides during the summer but opted to sign for Arsenal after speaking with the club’s former striker Jeremie Aliadiere. The 19-year-old was one of five signings made by Unai Emery this summer and impressed enough during pre-season to be rewarded with his full debut in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat against Manchester City.
Guendouzi showed flashes of the potential that persuaded Arsene Wenger’s successor to pay Lorient £7million for his signature during the transfer window and the France Under-20 admits it is is a dream come true to represent the club he followed as a youngster. ‘It’s true there were a lot of clubs interested in me — I had talks with some of the biggest clubs in Europe,’ he said. ‘But as soon as I heard from Arsenal, the decision was very simple and I’m very happy to be here.
‘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. ‘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.’ Despite Sunday’s setback and and an equally daunting trip to Stamford Bridge on the horizon this weekend, Guendouzi insists Arsenal are capable of fighting for the Premier League title.
Yes, I believe we can win it this season because of the players and staff we have,’ he added.
‘We truly believe and will do everything we can to win as many games as we can and to have a fantastic season. I truly believe we can do it. ‘Man City are a top team but there are a lot of top teams in this division because the Premier League is the best league in Europe. There are plenty of others but we can be very positive and achieve good things this season. We can win titles because of the environment we have here and the quality of the players at our disposal.’