I didn't hesitate in decision to join Arsenal - Matteo Guendouzi
Arsenal teenage midfielder Matteo Guendouzi said he joined the Gunners because it's "the club of my heart" and wants to follow in the footsteps of the French greats who played there before.
Guendouzi signed for Arsenal from French second-tier club Loirent this summer for around £7 million and has been a surprise starter in all four Premier League games so far.
He said that means "I'm living a dream" and that becoming a Gunner has been a goal since watching Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry play for the club as a child.
"Arsenal is the club of my heart, the club I've supported since I was little," Guendouzi told Ouest-France. "I grew up watching, along with my grandfather, videos of Vieira, Henry and the others, the French players who made history. When I knew the club was interested in bringing me in, I didn't hesitate."
The 19-year-old was initially seen as a prospect for the future but earned the trust of coach Unai Emery during an impressive pre-season campaign and has held down his starting role in central midfield ahead of fellow newcomer Lucas Torreira.
However, he said it's been a big step to move from the French second division to the Premier League.
"It's another world. Arsenal are an historic club, magnificent, known the world over, one of the best in Europe with big stars in the team. It's difficult to describe, but it's another dimension. Everything has changed," he said. "In terms of the play, it's a lot more intense. In the English league, there are great players everywhere, it's impressive. But I got used to that quite quickly, that's the most important thing. It's up to me to be consistent. It's just the start."
Emery has already hailed the teenager as a "very big, positive surprise" and Guendouzi is quickly becoming a fan favourite at the Emirates. The midfielder has impressed with his composure on the ball and incisive passing, but promised he won't let the early success get to him.
"I'm staying focused on what I do on the pitch. What happens off it, it's nice, of course, but football is what I'm most passionate about. Yes, I'm a bit more famous, but I don't get too mixed up in that. I've had my feet on the ground since I was very young. I was brought up like that. I'm going to stay myself," he said. "It's up to me to keep working so that the team wins as many games as possible. In any case, at Arsenal, I have all I need to improve. And we have all we need to have a great season."