Martin Odegaard has taken to life at Arsenal like a duck to water. The Norwegian was signed on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season in an attempt to add further creativity to the Gunners’ midfield and so far he has done exactly that.
Technically brilliant, the 22-year-old has added another dimension to a midfield that had been highlighted for a lack of guile earlier on in the campaign. Perhaps more impressively, he has done so without ever shying away from the physical side of the Premier League.
Given the short-term nature of the loan deal and the fact that to our knowledge there have yet to be any discussions regarding the player’s longer-term future, many fans have had concerns with regards to whether he would get up to speed quick enough for Arsenal to benefit from his acquisition.
Having rifled home a shot from distance during the club’s victory in Piraeus over Olympiacos on Thursday, he continued his goalscoring run with a goal in the weekend’s north London derby – the perfect way to enhance your reputation among Arsenal fans.
Despite having made just ten appearances for the Gunners, the Norway captain has shown enough to suggest he is worth pursuing a permanent deal for in the summer. At the time of his arrival, concerns were voiced with regards to Emile Smith Rowe’s development and whether Odegaard’s arrival would stunt the 20-year-old’s progress. However, Sunday’s win was proof the pair can play in the same side and can thrive together.
Aside from his undoubted talent, Mikel Arteta has regularly spoken about how impressed he has been by the player’s attitude and work ethic. Odegaard has hinted he’d be happy to remain an Arsenal player beyond the end of this season. During a post-match interview (via Metro), he spoke about the need for ‘stability’ in his career, adding that he is ‘very happy at Arsenal’.
While there is no guarantee Real Madrid will be willing to sell Odegaard come the summer, he should have done enough to persuade Arteta and Edu that sealing a permanent deal for him should be one of their priorities when the transfer window opens.
The better he performs, the higher any asking price set by Los Blancos is likely to be but Arsenal will be well aware of Real’s need to raise funds in the summer, particularly as they are eyeing a move for PSG’s Kylian Mbappe.
Odegaard’s move to the Bernabeu at just 16 years of age means he has been on radars for years – sometimes it’s hard to believe he is still just 22. His young age suggests there is still plenty more to come from him, and perhaps Arsenal will be willing to stretch themselves financially to make a signing that would be one with a view to both the present and the future.
Negotiations are yet to take place, but if Arsenal don’t at least try to tie down this talented, humble and hard-working young man, it would be a huge mistake.