Why Arsenal should not give up on Odegaard yet

Martin Macdonald
‘We will have discussions in the next few weeks’ – Arteta confident of striking Odegaard deal

Arsenal still retain hopes of signing Martin Odegaard on a permanent basis from Real Madrid this summer, but what are the chances of the deal happening?

In his youth, Odegaard starred for Stromsgodset was eventually signed by Real Madrid in 2015 to much fanfare, with him considered one of the best players in the world in his age group at the time.

He would feature for the Castilla side before eventually going out on loan to Heerenveen, Vitesse, and, then, Real Sociedad for the 2019/20 campaign.

It was with Real Sociedad that he truly came into his own and started to make good on the reputation he had previously earned.

With Real Madrid making no signings last summer in the pandemic, Odegaard'a loan move to Sociedad was finished early so that he could be brought back as a member of the first team squad at Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite starting the first two games of the season under Zinedine Zidane, Odegaard fell out of favour thereafter, and would only start one other La Liga game before January.

Though then head coach Zidane reportedly wanted to keep Odegaard at Real Madrid for the second half of the season, the player’s wish was to leave for some first-team football, which led to Arsenal taking him for six months.

The Norwegian was a hit at the Emirates, and soon eased fears that he would hamper the development of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka by striking up impressive partnership with the young Arsenal duo.

Though manager Mikel Arteta would subsequently campaign for the club to sign Odegaard permanently, he would ultimately return to Madrid and say his goodbyes at Arsenal.

Writing on social media, he said:

Arsenal, thank you so much for these six months.

“My time with the Arsenal family will always hold a special place in my heart.

“I wanna thank everyone in and around the club for the way you made me feel like a part of the family since the first day.

“Special thanks to the fans, even without you guys at the stadium for the majority of the season, I felt you with me at all times.”

What is Odegaard's situation now?

With new head coach Carlo Ancelotti coming in to replace Zidane, the feeling was that Odegaard would be given a new lease of life in Madrid, a new boss to impress and showcase his quality.

Los Blancos have played two official pre-season match so far against Rayo in a 1-1 draw and then against Rangers.

Although it was a friendly, it will certainly be a cause of concern for Ancelotti that he witnessed his side be defeated 2-1 by the Scottish champions at the weekend.

Not only were they defeated, but they were battered as the Glasgow giants had over 20 shots on goal.

Odegaard played 78 minutes in that game, and was not particularly impressive.

Unfortunately for him, he finds himself in pretty much the same situation as last season.

In the pecking order of midfielders at Madrid, he is behind Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Federico Valverde.

There is also an argument to be made that Isco is actually ahead of him now, too, as Ancelotti praised the Spaniard and various other veteran stars upon his return to the club.

According to Marca, though Odegaard would like to make a success of his career at Real Madrid, he would be extremely open to the idea of returning to Arsenal.

Madrid, for their part, would also welcome any money from transfer fees in order to fund their dream move for Kylian Mbappe.

Basically every player within their squad is up for sale, and with a market out there for Odegaard they would certainly listen to any offers.