Matteo Guendouzi turned down the opportunity to play for rival clubs based on the recommendation of one former Arsenal forward.
The Gunners youngster has made a superb start to his career in north London having started all four Premier League fixtures so far.
Guendouzi, who arrived from Lorient in a £6million deal this summer had been expected to rise through the ranks at the club. However, the 19 year-old has become an instant his with the fans thanks to his youthful exuberance and commitment.
And it was former Arsenal man Jeremy Aliadiere who convinced the Parisian to join the north Londoners. The 35-year-old forward, who is currently at FC Lorient, spoke to his former teammate prior to his move.
Aliadiere, who spent a decade at Arsenal (1997-2007) explained to the teenager that he would be given an opportunity to show the world what he can do if he signed for Arsenal.
“I knew when I first saw him that he had something special and that a lot of clubs would be after him,” Aliadiere told Goal.
“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 a chance to their young players. I thought it’d be good for him.”
Guendouzi is almost a shoe-in to start at Newcastle this weekend. And even Aliadiere – who knew he’d get a chance at Arsenal – is surprised by his meteoric rise.
“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,” he added.