Mikel Arteta admits he is delighted to welcome Martin Odegaard to Arsenal after revealing the Norwegian has been on his wanted list for some time.
Odegaard has been identified as the solution to Arsenal’s lack of creativity, with his move sealed earlier this week.
The 22-year-old has agreed a deal with the Gunners until the end of the season after passing a medical. He will wear the number 11 shirt.
The Norwegian hardly played for Real Madrid, but after starring on loan at Real Sociedad last season, Arteta can’t wait to play him.
“He’s a player that we followed for some time and we believe that he’s got some special qualities that we need, that we have been missing,” Arteta said.
“Now we have to give him a little bit of time. He hasn’t played that many minutes in Madrid. But he’s been training hard and he looks so excited, as we are, to have another big talent at our club.
“I think in the last few seasons he’s progressed and developed in the right way. I’ve followed him very closely because he played for Real Sociedad, which is my home town. I know him really well.
“I’ve been really impressed. He’s a such a talent. He needs the right environment. Martin needs a little bit of time but I think he’s got the qualities to be a success for us.”
Asked where he expects Odegaard to play for Arsenal, Arteta added: “He’s a specialist to play in the pockets. He can play in the No 8 or 10 positions.
“He can play off the sides. He’s a really creative player who’s really comfortable on the ball in tight spaces.
“He has the capacity to create chances and to score goals. Something that he has improved a lot is his work rate without the ball as well, so it’s another option to give us more creativity for sure in the final third. He give us more options to set up in different ways against certain teams.”
Odegaard could make his debut on Sunday against Manchester United. However, skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is just one of three concerns for Arsenal.
Valdano criticises Odegaard move
Former Real Madrid player and manager Jorge Valdano has warned Odegaard that his move to Arsenal could be a mistake. The Argentine has also criticised the Norwegian’s mentality after he departed for the Gunners.
Valdano suggested that a player capable of Real Madrid’s standards would not back down from the task of proving themselves at the Bernabeu.
“I am very concerned about his mentality,” he added.
“It is not worthy of a Real Madrid player to leave your place, not have that patience. It’s not just any player ahead of him.
“I am surprised that he seek to leave the club and leave his spot open for others.”