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Is Ødegaard to Arsenal back on?

The pursuit of the Norwegian midfielder was once thought to be over, but a new lifeline has appeared.

Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Alastair Grant - Pool/Getty Images

Just when we all thought it was over, a glimmer of hope appears.

It’s no hyperbole to say that Martin Ødegaard’s loan last season was one of the most successful loan spells in Arsenal history. He and Emile Smith Rowe lead a post-Boxing Day resurgence in the attack that had the Arsenal faithful clamoring for Arteta and co to find a way to make the loan for the Norwegian midfielder permanent.

Sadly, those hopes were quickly dashed when Real Madrid, following the announcement of Carlo Ancelotti as manager, made it clear that Ødegaard was part of the club’s long-term plans after two seasons of loans for the midfielder. The transfer dream truly felt done for when Martin posted the soccer equivalent of a Dear John letter on his Instagram, thanking Arsenal for the loan opportunity. That, as they say, was that.

But according to Chris Wheatley this morning, Arsenal have not given up their pursuits after learning that Real Madrid is open to hearing offers for Ødegaard.

It doesn’t take a high soccer IQ to see how tremendous the acquisition of Ødegaard would be for Arsenal. His impact on the attack was almost immediate, and his style seemed to suit Arteta’s tactics perfectly. His fluid movement and eye for an incisive pass helped revive Arsenal’s previously limp attack in his brief spell, filling a gaping creative void left after Mesut Ozil’s career plummeted off of a cliff.

Since the end of the season, Arsenal have been linked to a growing list of creative players, with Leicester’s James Maddison and Lyon’s Houssem Aouar among the names heavily linked with the Gunners. Those players certainly carry a level of pedigree with them that is hard to deny, but it is even harder to look past Ødegaard’s skillset and proven success during his loan spell at Arsenal.

Working to Arsenal’s advantage is that Real Madrid, like many La Liga clubs, is in desperate need of cash. While they are still the destination of choice for many of soccer’s best and brightest, their financial situation has left them needing to clear out surplus players to fund their pursuits of the Mbappes and Haalands of the world. There are also murmurings that Ødegaard has not settled with the Real Madrid squad, which have been further exacerbated by videos on Reddit of Martin looking miserable during training. But those reports are unfounded outside of very subjective interpretation of training videos and pictures.

As it stands, no official offer has been made, so the rumor is still just that - a rumor. But with the pre-season already underway, Arsenal are going to need to make a move soon if they want to acclimate any new players ahead of the first match of the season on August 13th. With some luck and efficient negotiation, it might just be a player who needs the least acclimation of the lot.