Arsenal have been dealt a huge blow in their pursuit of the permanent signing of Martin Odegaard after a report named him as one of four non-transferable Real Madrid players.
Frustrated with a lack of gametime after ending a loan spell with Real Sociedad to return to Madrid, Odegaard left the La Liga champions for Arsenal in January. The six-month loan was designed to help him get his form and fitness back. For their part, Arsenal got a player who could effectively replace the frozen-out Mesut Ozil.
Odegaard has made a positive impression during his time in north London. The attention quickly turned to whether Arsenal will be able to keep him on a permanent basis.
There have been conflicting claims about their chances of securing that deal. It all seems to hinge on the future of Zinedine Zidane as Madrid coach.
Odegaard did not enjoy the best relationship with Zidane, so wouldn’t be too keen to return to the Spanish capital if the manager stays. But if he leaves, Odegaard could try his luck at the Bernabeu again.
The latest update from Marca casts doubt on Odegaard’s chances of staying at Arsenal in either circumstance, though.
Madrid put their faith in the Norway international from a young age and will want to see that pay off in their favour at some point. Hence, they are not ready to give up on him.
Odegaard is named as one of four players that Madrid will refuse to sell. The others are Fede Valverde, Vinicius Junior and Rodrigo.
Los Blancos intend to keep their young stars to form the core of their future. Therefore, the club chiefs are unwilling to consider selling them – including Odegaard.
That would be a crushing blow to Arsenal, who would benefit from retaining Odegaard’s services for longer. His contract with Real expires in 2023, but it seems his future will be in Spain.
Decision taken out of Arteta’s hands
The news will come as a blow to Mikel Arteta, who has been impressed with the 22-year-old. However, the manager has known all along that the playmaker’s future may be out of his hands.
Speaking about Odegaard and fellow Real loanee Dani Ceballos recently, Arteta admitted he would have to wait.
“With the financial position we’ve been in we had to find different ways to recruit good players to the club,” he said on Wednesday.
“In both cases I’m really happy with both of them and it needs to be decided at the end of the season.”
It seems the decision may be beyond his control and could force him to scour the market for alternatives.