'Guendouzi is worth every penny' - How Mertesacker recommendation convinced Hertha Berlin to sign Arsenal midfielder

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Guendouzi Mertesacker composite
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The midfielder was sent out on loan after falling down the pecking order under Mikel Arteta, and the German side are very glad to have him

Hertha Berlin sporting director Arne Friedrich says that Matteo Guendouzi is "worth every penny" after joining on loan from Arsenal this summer following a recommendation from former Gunners star Per Mertesacker.

Guendouzi made the move to Germany in October, departing Arsenal on loan after a tumultuous summer that saw him relegated to the bench after a 2-1 defeat against Brighton back in June that included a post-game scuffle with Neal Maupay.

Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille had also made contact with the Gunners, but it was Hertha Berlin that won out as the only club that submitted an official bid for the France Under-21 international.

Forced to quarantine upon arriving in Berlin due to a positive coronavirus test, Guendouzi has had a delayed start to life in the Bundesliga, although he has now featured in four consecutive games.

Friedrich, who has been with Hertha since November 2019 after previously playing for the club for eight seasons, says that Guendouzi's arrival in Berlin was preceded by a glowing recommendation from former international team-mate Mertesacker.

"He's a fantastic player," Friedrich told reporters. "We spoke to Arsenal before the transfer obviously, and I also spoke to Per Mertesacker, with whom I played in the national team. Our relationship is very honest, very transparent, and he had already said that he has such good quality and he's showed it already.

"From the first day when he came here to Germany onwards, he had to go into quarantine... I don't know what happened, I think either him or someone else tested positive so he had to sit in the hotel for the first two weeks here in a brand new city.

"He was so professional and we brought him some gear, a bike to work on and he was really, really ambitious to get on the field as soon as possible.

"Ever since, every day he shows in practice what a good player he is."

Since heading out on loan, Guendouzi has said that team-mates Mesut Ozil and Bernd Leno helped steer him towards the Bundesliga, although the 21-year-old Frenchman believes that he still has a future at the Emirates.

He did, however, admit that he felt he needed to leave Arsenal to have fun, having been left frustrated by a lack of playing time in north London towards the end of last season. 

Now settled in Berlin, the midfielder is beginning to impress, with Friedrich saying that Guendouzi has already left a major impression on the club's hierarchy.

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"He's so calm," he said. "He wants every single ball, even under pressure. He has his own understanding that he wants to win games.

"He has this intrinsic motivation to just show the world how good he is. This is what we need, this is what everybody needs and he is highly confident, which is also very important for our team because our team is still looking for structure.

"We are very, very happy to have him here and he's worth every penny."

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