Gunners coach Mikel Arteta was also delighted with the transfer, stating that Odegaard will offer ‘quality offensive options’ to his current crop of players.
Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Real Madrid star Martin Odegaard on loan until the end of the season.
The Norwegian midfielder travelled to North London to put the finishing touches on the deal on Sunday, and with the details in place, all that was missing was the official confirmation from the clubs.
Now, the Gunners announced Odegaard’s arrival in video form on their Twitter account, offering pictures of the 22-year-old in their famous red strip for the very first time. The midfielder has taken the number 11 shirt, leaving the number 10, previously worn by Mesut Ozil, open to one of his new teammates.
Odegaard’s signature has softened the blow of the German’s Emirates exit, with fans disappointed in how the former talisman’s career ended in North London. They can now look forward to witnessing Madrid’s playmaker in action, after he struggled to make his mark in their first team under Zinedine Zidane.
The youngster enjoyed a breakout season at Real Sociedad last year, and Los Blancos decided not to allow him to rejoin their rivals on loan for another campaign. Odegaard was expected to become an integral part in the champions’ midfield, but he ended up making only seven La Liga appearances in 2020/21.
That absence from their plans allowed the Gunners to jump in and land themselves an excellent piece of business. Arsenal technical director Edu was full of praise for the club’s new signing, thanking Madrid for their collaboration in allowing the move to come to fruition.
“We are delighted to welcome Martin to the club until the end of the season. I would like to thank everyone at Real Madrid and Martin’s representatives for their collaboration in making this loan move happen.
“Martin is an exceptional talent and we are strengthening our squad by introducing an exciting offensive player to the club for the remaining months of this season.”
“It’s great that we’ve secured Martin to come to us until the end of the season. Martin is of course a player that we all know very well and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while.
“Martin will provide us with quality offensive options and we’re all excited to be integrating him into our plans between now and May.”
• Emile Smith Rowe’s career on the line •
For Arsenal, Emile Smith Rowe has undoubtedly been the saviour of the season.
Since his arrival to the Gunners’ Premier League starting lineup, Arsenal have been fantastic domestically.
He has led them to four wins and a draw in the last five games, offering up three assists and transforming their season.
The 20-year-old has given Arsenal the sort of creativity they were hoping to find by spending big in the January transfer market, and he’s turned the Gunners back into a genuine threat.
It’s now understood that he’s due to be rewarded with a bumper new contract, but on top of that, Arsenal are now looking to reward Smith Rowe with an enormous threat to his young club career.
Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard has now sealed a six-month loan switch to the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal stressing the need to bring someone in to rotate with Smith Rowe and steer them through to the end of the season.
On one hand, that’s absolutely right. Relying so heavily on a 20-year-old with seven Premier League appearances to his name is a recipe for disaster. Arsenal need someone to help shoulder the burden, 100%.
However, that replacement probably shouldn’t be someone who is coming to the Emirates to take most of Smith Rowe’s minutes.
Smith Rowe needs regular game time if he is ever going to blossom into the kind of player Arsenal feel like they can rely on. He doesn’t need to play 38 games and 90 minutes every week, but he needs to be playing more often than not.
Unfortunately, you have to say that same thing about Odegaard as well.
The 22-year-old former wonderkid has found his career at somewhat of a crossroads. Despite an impressive loan spell with Real Sociedad last season, he’s not yet at the level he needs to be to star for Real.
Zinedine Zidane handed Odegaard a grand total of 367 minutes this season – five starts and four substitute appearances – forcing the Norwegian to head out on loan to try and find more minutes.
He’s chosen Arsenal, with manager Mikel Arteta understood to have personally convinced Odegaard to pick the Emirates as the perfect spot for his development. That probably means Arteta has promised him minutes.
Odegaard will rock up to Arsenal expecting to be a regular starter, but the problem is that Smith Rowe currently demands – and deserves – the same. There’s only one No. 10 spot, just ask Mesut Ozil.
For Arteta, there needs to be a delicate balancing of the situation, but there’s a real possibility of nobody winning. If Smith Rowe plays too much, Odegaard doesn’t play enough. If they play 50:50, both will be lacking.
To have two wonderkids fighting for one spot can be a recipe for disaster. We’ve seen plenty of players choose to walk away from their clubs because of a lack of confidence in their development path – Tariq Lamptey leaving Chelsea for Brighton is a recent example.