Matteo Guendouzi has spoken out about his transfer from FC Lorient to Arsenal over the summer, explaining how he turned down Paris Saint-Germain on the way.
Guendouzi actually spent his youth career with PSG, joining the club in 2005 and staying until 2014. However, he then moved on to Lorient, where he made his push into the senior side before the offers for his signature started to come rolling in this summer.
One of those offers came from his former club, but Guendouzi explained this week to Canal Football Club why he turned that chance down.
“I felt that there was not necessarily a project based on young people,” Guendouzi explained. “It’s true that Paris was very interested, like other clubs. There were discussions. But the best project for me was to join Arsenal.”
Unlike PSG, Guendouzi had no hesitations about accepting Arsenal’s offer. He says that was partly due to the French influence at the club, and the fact he watched them a lot when he was younger, but also because Unai Emery seemed very keen to bring him in.
“From the moment when Arsenal positioned themselves for me, I did not hesitate,” he said. “When I was young, I watched Arsenal a lot. The fact that a lot of French people were playing there, it played a part I think. He (Emery) really wanted me, he really insisted that I come.”
That enthusiasm from Emery to bring Guendouzi to the club makes it slightly less surprising that the midfielder then got straight into the first-team, starting against runaway Premier League champions Manchester City on the opening day of the season.
Since then, Guendouzi’s been in and out of the Premier League starting XI, but he has consistently made appearances from the bench when he hasn’t been selected from the start. He also plays regularly in the League Cup and Europa League as well.
The next challenge for the 19-year-old is finding his way into the France senior national team.
“It’s a goal, a dream for me,” Guendouzi admitted. “I believe in myself, it’s really something I want to do, I want to be there, I want to win titles with that selection. But there is still work to do, there are very big stars in this position but I believe.”
Hopefully, it’s a goal the midfielder achieves one day soon.