Can Odegaard make his Arsenal debut against Chelsea?

Nicholas Hughes
Martin Odegaard is becoming an increasingly prominent player at Arsenal after arriving from Real Madrid

Arsenal have completed their fourth signing of the summer window, bringing Martin Odegaard back to the club on a permanent deal.

Mikel Arteta will be eager to get the Norwegian straight into the line-up with a big London derby against Chelsea to come this weekend, but this is unlikely to be the case.

While the transfer was completed before the Premier League’s registration deadline for the second week of the season, the club still need to get visa clearance for the 22-year-old.

Odegaard is not in quarantine upon his arrival in the capital as he has been vaccinated for COVID-19, but the visa clearance will delay his debut for this weekend.

That means that Odegaard, who has been given the No.8 shirt, will have to wait until at least the Gunners’ League Cup clash with West Bromwich Albion next week to play his first game. Otherwise, Arteta will likely deploy the Norwegian against Manchester City at the Etihad next Saturday.

Arsenal fans will likely then have to wait until after the international break to see Odegaard stride out onto the Emirates Stadium pitch, with a game against Norwich City on September 12.

Arsenal fans will have to wait to see Odegaard back at the Emirates

Odegaard became a favourite at Arsenal when he joined the club on loan in January, playing 14 times in the Premier League and managing one goal and two assists.

The Gunners have been chasing an attacking midfield talent for some time, and with Odegaard now set to join the likes of Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka in Arsenal’s ranks, the Gunners have quality options for the present and the future.

Odegaard took the footballing world by storm in 2015 when he chose to sign for Real Madrid as a 16-year-old after a bidding war between just about every big club in Europe.

He has found opportunities difficult to come by at the Santiago Bernabeu, though, making just eight La Liga appearances and being loaned out four times over the six years.

Odegaard now joins Arsenal with the opportunity to play regularly and be an important player in a team with ambitions to improve and return to challenging in both domestic and continental competitions.