Arsenal ‘close’ to signing Odegaard, Arteta admits
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said that Arsenal are “close” to completing the signing of Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard.
The Gunners are craving additional creativity in their midfield and see Norway international Odegaard as a solution.
It is expected that he will arrive at the Emirates Stadium under the form of a loan deal that will stretch until the end of the season. There will be no purchase option in the agreement.
Arteta admits that the Odegaard deal is nearing completion.
“I think we are pretty close but it’s not finalised, as I understand,” he said following Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Southampton in the Premier League. “I haven’t talked to Edu or the club in the last few hours but we are very positive that we can finalise the deal.”
Arsenal’s hunt for additional flair was given new urgency at St Mary’s as in-form youngster Emile Smith-Rowe was withdrawn in the second half due to injury.
Arteta would not be drawn on the severity of the injury but simply underlined how important it is to keep players protected during a campaign in which there are immense demands on his squad.
Arsenal have moved to create room in their squad for Odegaard by releasing players surplus to requirements.
Mesut Ozil, for example, has been allowed to move to Fenerbahce and Sokratis was released to join Olympiacos.
Although neither was used this term, both were on significant wages. Indeed, Ozil was the club’s highest earner before departing.
Odegaard, 22, could make his Arsenal debut in Sunday’s big clash against Manchester United at the Emirates.
He has, however, been criticised by Real Madrid legend Jorge Valdano for “giving up” upon the chance game time at the Bernabeu too easily.
The Gunners are on a six-match undefeated run in the league and have moved up to eighth in the standings after a slow start.