Unai Emery reveals first Arsenal chat with Matteo Guendouzi

Arsenal boss Unai Emery reveals chat with Matteo Guendouzi after the youngster's Gunners move

Unai Emery
Unai Emery (Photo: Screengrab)

Unai Emery has revealed that Matteo Guendouzi had some doubts about whether he could adapt to the Premier League following his move to Arsenal from Lorient in 2018.

The Gunners signed Guendouzi as a virtual unknown after the 20-year-old sampled first-team experience at Ligue 2 side Lorient before his move to the English top flight.

However, Emery didn’t hesitate to start Guendouzi in his Arsenal team despite the defensive midfielder’s lack of experience in the Premier League – or any top-level competition.

Guendouzi excelled as the French youngster made 33 appearances in the Premier League, while the midfielder scored one goal in nine games in the Europa League.

The Arsenal star has continued his development over the past 12 months to transform himself into of Emery’s key players in the middle of the park despite his young age.

Guendouzi’s club performances were recognised at international level after France boss Didier Deschamps called up the holding midfielder to his recent squad.

Emery gave his verdict on Guendouzi’s progress over the past 12 months, detailing conversations between the pair following his move to Arsenal.

“Matteo is a very good example for how we can develop our young players, with new young players or the spirit within the players who are here now,” Emery told Arsenal’s website.

“He started last year, at the beginning, with some doubts about his adaptation after he came from Lorient in the second division in France.

“He was very young, but his ambition and his wish to adapt very quickly, as well as his quality, were very good for us.

“He started playing and training with us, and after, his progress and development during the season was amazing.

“But also, we were working with him on some details we needed to improve with him – his food, his body, how we can work to make it stronger, his arms, his body, his legs.

“This year, I think he’s taken one step ahead, improving and also giving us one level more in his performances.

“We want to continue with him, working in each training session and in each match. ‘For him and for us it’s a big challenge to take that step ahead.

“For other young players, his spirit, his progress, his development is a good example, for (Joe) Willock, for Emile Smith Rowe, for Reiss Nelson. It’s a very good example for everybody.”

Guendouzi created Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s equaliser in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur last time out before the international break.

Arsenal will take on Watford at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

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