Arsenal have opened talks with star midfielder Martin Odegaard over a new contract according to Charles Watts.
The Norwegian’s current deal expires in 2025 – with an option for a further year – but Mikel Artea nonetheless wants to reward the club captain for his fine recent form.
Having tied up new deals for a host of star performers, Arsenal are now prioritising Odegaard and right-back Ben White, whose contract is also up in 2025.
“They are looking to get that done, to push forward with those discussions at the moment,” says Watts.
“They have spent a lot of time getting a lot of the key players signed up at the club and Odegaard and Ben White are the final two.
“And my understanding is that talks have been taking place fairly recently to try to get the deal to a stage where it can be done.”
BEST IN THE WORLD
Odegaard was a standout for Arsenal last season as they pushed Manchester City all the way in the Premier League title race, with the 24-year-old chipping in with 15 goals and eight assists.
“They really want to keep Martin Odegaard; he is so integral to Mikel Arteta,” says Watts. “He’s captain and hugely important to the way Arsenal play. He is a fantastic footballer who showed how good he was last season.
“And I expect him to take his game up to another level. Arsenal are delighted to have him and they’re really beginning to step forward those talks with his agent to try and get a deal done.
“He’s got two years left on his deal, it’s 2025 with an option for another year. There’s no rush but they want to reward him for his performances.”
Odegaard has established himself as one of the best players in the world in his position since moving from Real Madrid in 2021 and now Arsenal have initiated the process of tying him down for the long-term.
“Mikel Arteta always talks about that when he talks about new contracts – that players need to be rewarded for their performances and Odegaard has shown he’s not just one of the best players in the Premier League, he’s one of the best players in the world right now,” says Watts.
“Arsenal have worked hard to reward a lot of the players who have been so important to them signing new contracts recently, and they want to reward Overgaard.
“Talks have been initiated and they’re moving forward. They are now in talks to get it done as quickly as possible. But sometimes these can drag on for a season. But they are definitely talking with his people to try and get it done.
“These players are so key to what’s happening at the club at the moment, and they want to keep their best players and Odegaard is absolutely their best player.”
LATEST STAR TIED DOWN
Arsenal have ensured that their best players are signed up for the long-term in recent months with the likes of Bukayo Saka, William Saliba, Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli and Aaron Ramsdale all committing to new deals.
“They’ve worked so hard to keep this group together,” says Watts. “We’ve seen in the last year, Gabriel, Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba all signed contracts and it’s just common sense that Odegaard will need to follow suit. They need to get it done and that’s what they’re trying to do.
“Saliba was a massive one solely because he didn’t have that emotional tie to the club [like Saka]. He wasn’t a Hale End boy. He obviously had a difficult start, where it looked like Arteta didn’t fancy him at all. To get him done, that showed an awful lot because he didn’t really owe Arsenal anything.
“He would have walked into any team in Europe and he would have had every team in Europe banging on his door as well with only one year left on his deal. For him to sign a new contract, I thought that was hugely important and said an awful lot.
“Odegaard to be equally as important.”