Former Arsenal star fears Odegaard deal could be an ’embarrassment’ like Denis Suarez

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 2 min read
Former Arsenal star fears Odegaard deal could be an ’embarrassment’ like Denis Suarez

Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith is worried that the deal to sign Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid could end up being an “embarrassment” like the unsuccessful move that saw Denis Suarez flop at the Emirates.

Odegaard is on the cusp of joining the Gunners on loan until the end of the season after falling out of favour at the Santiago Bernabeu until Zinedine Zidane.

Suarez, meanwhile, joined on loan from Barcelona for the second half of the 2018/19 season, but didn’t start a single Premier League game for the club, ultimately failing to make an impact.

Though Smith concedes the Odegaard deal could be different, he hopes Arsenal have learned their lesson from previous errors in judgement like Suarez.

“He’s had his problems developing at Real Madrid and the last thing Arsenal want is to get somebody in who can’t offer anything,” Smith told Stadium Astro.

“You think back to Denis Suarez who came to the club and physically he just wasn’t ready and then he picked up injuries.

“It was a bit of an embarrassment in the end, so hopefully they will do their homework on Odegaard.”

Smith believes they should have pursued Inter’s Christian Eriksen instead, as he has experience of performing in the Premier League.

Martin Odegaard: Snapshot

Stat2019/202020/21
Goals40
Assists60
Final Third Passes P9023.226.7
Big Chances Created80
Dribbles P902.30.4
Crosses P904.22.2

“He’s a young player that went to Real Madrid, and so much is expected of him, and as so often happens it doesn’t quite materialise like that,” the SKy Sports commentator added.

“But they’ve been looking for more creativity. [Emile] Smith Rowe has provided that. They were linked to Christian Eriksen as well the other day.

“So it’s that kind of player that can make the difference against a deep-lying defence that’s defending in numbers. I wouldn’t expect him to start many games, somebody that would just dip in and out perhaps.”

Arsenal will be paying a loan fee of just £1.7m as well as Odegaard’s manageable £38,000 per week wages, and Smith thinks the finances of the deal do make sense for the club.

Arsenal have almost got one hand tied behind their back because financially they can’t throw money at it so they’ve got to be fairly creative in getting these loans in,” he said.

“[Dani] Ceballos has been brought in from Real Madrid and they’ve got that relationship.

“Ceballos has done well during his time at the Emirates I think so hopefully Odegaard could come and he’s got a point to prove and he could add something to what they’ve got.”

Odegaard is set to be confirmed as an Arsenal player this week.