Why Arsenal must grab the opportunity to secure Martin Odegaard loan
The 22-year-old has requested a loan move away from the Santiago Bernabeu this month after struggling for regular game time under Zinedine Zidane. With Mesut Ozil departing the club, the door has now been left open for the Gunners to firm up their interest in Odegaard.
Martin Odegaard joined Real Madrid from Norwegian club Stromgodset in January 2015 as one of the most exciting teenager prospects on the planet. He made his first-team debut for the Los Blancos later that season before heading out on loan to Eredivisie outfit Heerenveen for 18 months, starting from January 2017.
The youngster showed real promise during his loan spell at Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands during the 2018-19 season, amassing 9 goals and 12 assists in 35 appearances. Odegaard’s exploits in the Eredivisie paved the way for a loan move to Real Sociedad, where he impressed with 4 goals and 6 assists in 31 appearances in the La Liga last season.
The Norwegian international was retained by Real Madrid for the 2020-21 campaign but has been restricted to just 3 league starts, playing only 233 minutes so far.
More quality and competition?
Ozil’s departure to Fenerbahce marks the end of the German’s long exile in North London. While he didn’t feature at all for Arteta’s side this season, the need for improvement in the attacking midfield department has been pretty evident.
Emile Smith Rowe has risen to the challenge in the No.10 role, starting each of the club’s last five games in the Premier League. The academy starlet is yet to score but has contributed with 3 assists. That has seen him take his overall tally for the season up to 5 goals and 5 assists in 14 appearances across all competitions.
However, Arsenal don’t really have too many options beyond the 20-year-old. The Gunners, of course, have Dani Ceballos on loan from Madrid but the Spaniard has struggled to produce enough end product this season. The same goes for Willian, who has also failed to live up to the expectations.
To that end, the availability of Martin Odegaard on loan should sound like music to Arteta’s ears. The Norwegian might have struggled for regular minutes at the Bernabeu but his past exploits on loan prove that he’s capable of delivering the goods when provided with sufficient game time. In fact, Odegaard was quite unplayable at times during his spell at Sociedad last season.
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Suffice to say, Arsenal completing a loan deal for the out-of-favour Madrid creative wizard would hand a considerable boost to their plans. The Gunners need more depth and competition for places in the attacking midfield role and the Norwegian ticks several boxes in that regard. They could have a gem on their hands if Arteta manages to make proper use of his potential.