After kickstarting their January transfer window by terminating the contracts of Mesut Özil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Arsenal are set to lock horns with clubs across Europe for the signature of Martin Odegaard.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is said to be a big admirer of the Norwegian youngster and it is reported by Sky Sports’ Paul Gilmour that Arsenal have made an approach to sign him.
Currently sat in 10th place, Arsenal will face stiff competition to sign the 22-year-old with other clubs such as Sevilla, Real Sociedad as well as numerous German clubs said to also be interested in signing Odegaard this month.
Whilst the details of a potential move are still unclear, it is thought that it will initially be a loan move, to help share the creative burden with breakthrough star Emile Smith Rowe; however, with Odegaard’s long term future at Real Madrid uncertain, it could well pan out that Arsenal move to sign him on a permanent deal.
Odegaard burst onto the footballing scene early, aged 15 years and 253 days, plying his trade for Eliteserien side Strømsgodset where he caught the eye of Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Signed by Madrid for a reported €3 million in January 2015, Odegaard became the youngest ever debutant in the history of Los Blancos at 16 years and 157 days.
A prospect for the future, the Norwegian spent most of his time playing for Madrid’s second-string side Real Madrid Castilla in the Spanish third division, with the club intending on integrating him slowly into first-team action.
Odegaard made bit-part appearances for the first team in his first couple years with Madrid, but, as many youngsters are, Odegaard was shipped out on loan to gain some senior experience.
A loan move to the Netherlands with SC Heerenveen in 2017-18 proved successful, but it was a year later with SBV Vitesse where Odegaard was finally able to display his talents that made Ancelotti bring him to Spain in the first place.
The Norwegian international racked up 11 goals and 12 assists for the Eredivisie side earning him Vitesse’s Player of the Year award, whilst guiding his team to Europa League playoff qualification.
One year on, Odegaard moved back to Spain this time with Real Sociedad as he continued his attempts to break into the Real Madrid starting side. Like the year prior in Holland, Odegaard had a productive season at Sociedad scoring seven times and creating nine goals in the process.
Troubles with Zidane
If there is one thing we have learnt about Zinedine Zidane in tenure as Madrid boss, it is that he has a very specific taste in the calibre of player that play in his side.
Accustomed to the greatness of Cristiano Ronaldo, Zidane has frozen out other great playmakers including James Rodriguez and Isco too.
To escape the fate of those before him, it is probably best if Odegaard packs up and takes his ability elsewhere instead of rotting on the Madrid bench.
His talent is second to none and he has the potential to become a future superstar. Fittingly, in the week of Özil's departure from the North London side, they are now linked with another left-footed attacking midfielder from Madrid- the same path Özil took back in 2013.
Like Özil, Odegaard has a slender, yet, relatively tall frame, but also possesses the elegance and flair that Arsenal’s previous number ten had too.
At such a young age, Odegaard still has plenty of time ahead of him to fulfil his potential as a future superstar. If Arsenal were to acquire him, there is no doubt that he would be a cornerstone for the club in years to come, forming a menacing attacking quartet alongside Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Smith Rowe.