Everton forward Joshua King has explained how his advice helped convince Martin Odegaard to sign for Arsenal in January.
The 22-year-old has found his feet with the Gunners in recent weeks. After scoring a scorcher against Olympiacos, he was then on target against Tottenham in the derby. Since then, Odegaard proved himself the key man as Arsenal fought back from 3-0 down to draw at West Ham.
That drew huge praise from Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, who says the Norwegian is now showing his class.
“I think he had an incredible performance,” said Arteta. “I think he was very intelligent the way he read the game, the way he affected the game. Again he showed how much he wanted to win.
“When everyone was a little trembling he gave us that stability and that composure on the ball. He created chance after chance.
“He’s been showing that, I think, from week one. The way he steps on the pitch, he always wants the ball, the way he commands the pressing. He’s been really influential.
“I think we’ve all been a bit surprised because he looks really shy and humble, but when he steps on that pitch he’s a real character and he loves to play football.”
The midfielder’s display at the London Stadium has also seen Liverpool mentioned as possible summer suitors. Both the Liverpool Echo and the Daily Express have run features over how the Reds have been urged to hijack any permanent Odegaard move to Arsenal.
However, it does appear that Arsenal are now in the driving seat. Despite his loan signing not containing a permanent option, that is a deal they will surely look to prioritise this summer.
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Indeed, King has now explained why he always knew Odegaard would be suited to the Gunners. King, speaking to NRK, says he told the Real Madrid man ‘not to think twice’ once Arsenal’s interest became apparent.
“When I saw the rumour about Arsenal, I sent him a message and said: “You have to go to Arsenal”.
“He replied, “Are you sure? Are you sure?” – I was so sure. Arsenal’s style of play and Martin… I have friends who have played for Arsenal, and I know a little how the club is. In my head, I think it suited him well.”
Doubts emerge of King, Everton future
King, meanwhile, looks destined to see see his stay at Everton brought to a rapid halt this summer with Carlo Ancelotti seemingly unwilling to extend his deal.
The 29-year-old moved to Merseyside from Bournemouth on deadline day, choosing the Toffees over Fulham.
Signing on an initial six-month loan, King has the opportunity to land a long-term deal should he impress.
However, in eight outings for the Toffees so far, King is yet to rediscover the form that saw him targeted by Manchester United.
The Norway attacker was signed initially as cover for Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. But having stepped off the bench eight times, King is yet to earn a start. He’s also yet to score for the Toffees and doesn’t have an assist to his name.
Indeed, having only scored three FA Cup goals for Bournemouth this season prior to his move, King is now without a league goal since July.
As such, having failed to impress Ancelotti, King looks likely to become a free agent again this summer. However, he looks unlikely to be short on suitors, with Fenerbahce strongly linked.