Berlin - On Monday evening, an “extraordinary transfer window” that was strongly influenced by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic came to a close for Hertha BSC and Michael Preetz. For the first time, transfers were possible up until the start of October and this lengthened window was put to good use by competitors in the market, which was initially slow to take off. The club from the capital was one of these competitors and secured two new names shortly before the deadline in the form of Omar Alderete from FC Basel and Mattéo Guendouzi from Arsenal. The centre-back and the midfielder are sure to provide useful options for coach Bruno Labbadia. Shortly after they had both signed on the dotted line, herthabsc.de spoke to the two new arrivals about their decision to move to Berlin, how the talks progressed, and their goals in blue and white.
herthabsc.de: Welcome to Hertha BSC! It was certainly an exciting deadline day. What made you decide to come to Berlin and what are your first impressions of everything?
Guendouzi: I know how ambitious the Hertha are and I want to contribute and play my part in helping the club to be successful and take the next step. Hertha came in for me because I can help the club to achieve its goals, and I’m going to give my all.
Alderete: I’m very pleased to be here at Hertha, although I don’t know Berlin very well yet. Everything has happened so quickly! On Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t clear whether the move would be going through or not. It was a bit crazy but luckily everything went smoothly. I’m very happy to have gotten the opportunity to play for Hertha in this league.
herthabsc.de: Omar, one of your former teammates at FC Basel, Valentin Stocker, played in the blue and white of Hertha for years. Did you speak to him about the transfer at all?
Alderete: The truth is that I didn’t actually discuss my transfer with any of my teammates. They will have heard about the move from the media because it all happened so suddenly. (laughs) I didn’t know whether everything would go ahead as planned, so there wasn’t anything to talk about! I haven’t been able to say goodbye either yet, but I'll make up for that soon.
herthabsc.de: How much of a role did fellow Frenchman Lucas Tousart play in your decision to join, Mattéo?
Guendouzi: I know Lucas well from our time together with the French national team and we had a long discussion before my decision. He came to Germany to develop his game and to help the club to achieve its goals. After talking with him, I had a good feeling so he did play a big role in my decision to take this step.
herthabsc.de: You took the step from South America to Europe, Omar. How does the football there differ from the European game? Is a move to the Bundesliga the next logical step for you?
Alderete: My impression is that the football in South America is more physical and you need to be stronger, whereas it’s more about tactics here in Europe. The truth is that I’m very happy to playing here in Europe. The Bundesliga is a very important league - one of the best in the world. I’m really looking forward to getting going here and advancing my game to the next level here in Germany. My goal is to use every training session and every match to win the trust of the coach and establish myself in the team. I’m looking forward to getting started.
herthabsc.de: And Mattéo: What did you know about your new club before you moved?
Guendouzi: Hertha is a very good club in Germany with a long history. The club has high ambitions and has strengthened well. These ambitions fit well with my ideas, which is why the decision was an easy one for me.