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Forgotten former Arsenal striker reveals his role in Guendouzi's summer arrival

The teenage midfielder has impressed for the Gunners in the early part of the season after his move from Ligue 2.

FORMER ARSENAL STRIKER Jeremie Aliadiere has revealed how he persuaded Matteo Guendouzi to reject the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund to join the Gunners.

Aliadiere, who was part of the famous 2003-04 Invincibles squad in north London, played with Guendouzi at French side Lorient during the 2016-17 campaign.

The 19-year-old swapped the Ligue 2 side for the Emirates Stadium in July after a £7 million fee was agreed for his signature, and he has quickly become a staple in Unai Emery’s first XI.

Guendouzi has started each of Emery’s first four competitive matches in charge, drawing praise from a host of former professionals as well as Emery himself for the way he has been able to make the step up to Premier League football so quickly.

And Aliadiere has revealed that he always felt that if Guendouzi moved to Arsenal he would earn his opportunities, hence his advice to the youngster to agree terms with the Gunners.

“I knew when I first saw him that he had something special and that a lot of clubs would be after him,” Aliadiere 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. I thought it’d be good for him.”

Guendouzi has quickly become a popular figure at Arsenal’s London Colney training complex having built friendships with fellow French speakers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

And though Aliadiere is unsurprised that the teenager has made a name for himself within the club, he has been shocked by just how well he has been able to raise his game with the eyes of the world watching him – something he puts down to the player’s self-belief.

“To be honest, yes, I have been surprised [that Guendouzi has started so many games],” said Aliadiere.

“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.

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“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.”

- Omni

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