Arsenal are close to signing Real Madrid attacking midfielder Martin Ødegaard on loan for the rest of the season. The 22-year old Norwegian has struggled to break into Zinedine Zidane’s side, wants more first team minutes, and was reportedly considering loan options from around Europe before Arsenal joined the conversation. As has been the case with several moves of late, Mikel Arteta’s personal intervention is said to have played an important role in convincing the player to come to North London.
Ødegaard was a highly sought-after player when he joined Real Madrid in 2015 at 17-years old. But the Norwegian has not been the nailed-on star some expected him to be when he moved to Spain. He spent the previous two seasons on loan at Vitesse and Real Sociedad and has only managed three La Liga starts this year, which has left some who follow Real more closely than I scratching their heads at his non-inclusion.
Ødegaard is a very good player and should be a great addition for the Gunners. He will help ease the creative load that has been placed squarely on Emile Smith Rowe’s shoulders at the moment. He is a talented ball-progressor, dribbler, and creator, although his actual assist and goal totals leave a bit to be desired. The low goal output is not from a lack of shooting; he takes plenty of shots, which is something Arsenal need, too.
Martin Ødegaard, 2019-20, Real Sociedad, Midfield and Attacking Midfield Templates pic.twitter.com/ulunfMWg9c— Scott Willis (@oh_that_crab) January 21, 2021
There’s no word whether the forthcoming loan deal comes with an option to buy or is just a straight loan for the rest of the season. That gives me a bit of pause because I don’t love the idea of developing players for other teams when Arsenal have similarly aged players in the same positions that will be in direct competition for minutes. But every move has it’s tradeoffs, I suppose. Bringing in players who will, almost unquestionably, make the team better is a Good Thing, and there are plenty of minutes to go around with Arsenal still in three competitions.
If Arsenal get this Ødegaard loan across the finish line, coupled with today’s loan of keeper Mathew Ryan, the club will have to move one non-homegrown player out for the second half of the season. Alex Runarsson is the likeliest candidate to make way and would probably be loaned out.
Getting attacking midfield help and securing a reliable backup keeper in the same day would be quite the accomplishment. It would fill two of the three major holes that needed filling, leaving backup left back as the only “must-do” on the list.
I like this new-look, competent Arsenal front office.