How would Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard fit in at Arsenal?
The form he displayed at Real Sociedad last season prompted the recall from Real Madrid, but he hasn’t progressed back at the Bernabeu and it’s clear that Zinedine Zidane doesn’t favour the 22-year-old.
His lack of minutes this season has led to rumours of another loan move away, and Arsenal have emerged as the leading candidate to land the playmaker, with reports saying a loan deal is ‘very close’.
A clear hole in Arsenal’s squad this season has been a lack of a creative midfielder, and whilst Emile Smith-Rowe has excelled during his run in the team since Boxing Day, he’s still only 20, and has amassed just six starts for his boyhood club; it’s unrealistic to pin all the creative load onto his young shoulders.
Since Smith-Rowe’s introduction to the team, Arteta has favoured a 4-2-3-1 system, with the Englishman playing behind primarily Alexandre Lacazette, Bukayo Saka on the right, and either Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Gabriel Martinelli on the left.
The system has worked a treat, picking up 13 points from the last 15 available in the Premier League; form that has seen them close the gap to London rivals Chelsea to just two points.
So what would Odegaard bring to Arsenal?
Odegaard is a typical No.10, who enjoys playing off a striker, in between the lines of defence and midfield, and his eye for a pass is second to none; he would fit seamlessly into the attacking midfield slot in Arsenal’s formation.
Whilst bringing in Odegaard has brought up concerns surrounding Smith Rowe’s development, the Hale End graduate would benefit from training with a player with such quality, and competition is always extremely important for a young player.
However, thanks to Smith-Rowe’s form, Odegaard wouldn’t be a nailed on starter straight away for the Gunners, but in their bid to get back towards the summit of the Premier League, the Norwegian could be vital.
Taking Odegaard stats from his 2019/20 season on loan at Real Sociedad as has barely played this season, how does he compare to the creative options already at Arteta’s disposal?
How does the Madrid playmaker compare to Arsenal’s current options?
|All competitions||Martin Odegaard (19/20)||Emile Smith-Rowe (20/21)||Bukayo Saka (20/21)||Willian (20/21)||Nicolas Pepe (20/21)|
|Key passes per 90||2.2||2.2||1.1||1.8||2|
|Shots per 90||1.7||0.9||2.5||1.1||3.1|
|Dribbles per 90||2.2||1.6||1.4||1.0||2.6|
|xG + xA per 90||0.36||0.36||0.43||0.40||0.29|
Odegaard complimented the likes of Mikel Oyarzabal, Portu, William Jose, and Alexander Isak perfectly last campaign and helped the side to sixth place in La Liga, with the fourth best attack in the division.
All things considered, Odegaard is stylistically fairly similar to Smith-Rowe, and if they manage to land the Norwegian, it will be interesting to see how Arteta chooses to line up his front four.