Matteo Guendouzi turned down Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund over the summer, according to reports, with Lorient club president Loic Fery confirming it was the player’s choice to join Arsenal.
Speaking to the Independent, Fery recalled how the transfer came about, and that Guendouzi immediately expressed a desire to move to North London.
“Arsenal contacted us and it was very clear immediately he was a player they wanted to sign,” Fery said. “Once we had those clubs starting to be interested, we asked him where he wanted to go. He told me that Arsenal was his preference. He wanted to play in the Premier League and Arsenal would be great for him.”
By “those clubs”, Fery is referring to Arsenal, Dortmund and PSG, according to the Independent report. Dortmund had followed the midfielder for a while, and PSG knew Guendouzi from his time with the Parisians as a youth player.
Unfortunately for them, the midfielder had his heart set on the Gunners. He told the Standard the decision was easy for him.
“It’s true there were a lot of clubs interested in me,” Guendouzi said. “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.”
After a £7.5m move he’s made a quick impression on the club’s first team. Surpassing all initial expectations, the midfielder even earned a start in the first Premier League match of the season, against Manchester City.
Although that game didn’t go completely as planned, with a couple of mistakes from the 19-year-old defensively, that didn’t stop him outperforming the rest of Unai Emery’s midfield in possession. It was particularly encouraging to see him showing for the ball so often, as it’s always easy to hide as a young player in a big game.
Now it’s about continuing to gain the experience necessary to iron out the mistakes and hopefully one day become a top class player.