Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid for the rest of the season.
The Gunners have been looking for more creativity after freezing Mesut Ozil out of their squad and allowing him to join Fenerbahce.
Odegaard has been identified as the solution and talk of a move to the Emirates Stadium has been gathering pace in recent weeks. Now, that has materialised into a transfer.
The 22-year-old has agreed a deal with Arsenal until the end of the season after passing a medical. He will wear the number 11 shirt.
Odegaard told Arsenal’s official website that a conversation with manager Mikel Arteta convinced him the Emirates was the right place to be.
He said: “I spoke to him before coming here, of course. That was very important for me and he seems like a top manager and I liked his ideas, the way he sees football and also the way he is.
“He gave me a great feeling and that was important for me to come here. He was crucial.
“I think every time you go to a new place, you want to make sure that it feels good and that there is a plan. But I think everything here just seems good.
“I like the club and I always liked the way that the club wants to play. Everything about the club and now how the manager wants to play, I think it’s a club that really suits me well. So I think it’s a good match.”
Odegaard also revealed that he has watched Arsenal for a long time and used to idolise one of their midfielders in particular.
“In Norway, the Premier League is really big. Since I was a little kid there, we always watched all the games, me and my friends.
“I think it’s the biggest league, especially in Norway, so for me it’s always been a dream to play in the Premier League and I always liked the way Arsenal played and everything about the club. So it’s a dream come true in many ways.
“There were a lot [of Arsenal players I admired]. But I think Fabregas, for me, was one of my idols when I grew up. So especially him.
“The way he controls the game, the way he dictated the game, his ability to give assists and also score goals. Everything about his game.
“I tried to learn as much as possible when I grew up watching him. He was the top player.”
Arteta and Edu excited by Odegaard
The attacking midfielder joined Real Madrid as a teenager in 2015, but has spent most of the time since then on loan away from the Bernabeu.
He spent last season on loan with Real Sociedad in La Liga, impressing enough to earn a chance back at Madrid. However, he was limited to just three La Liga starts in the first half of the season.
Therefore, another loan spell was deemed the right solution so he can continue his development. Arsenal will be the ones to benefit from that.
Manager Mikel Arteta told arsenal.com: “It’s great that we’ve secured Martin to come to us until the end of the season.
“Martin is of course a player that we all know very well and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while.
“Martin will provide us with quality offensive options and we’re all excited to be integrating him into our plans between now and May.”
Technical director Edu is also ready to see what Odegaard will bring. He added: “We are delighted to welcome Martin to the club until the end of the season.
“I would like to thank everyone at Real Madrid and Martin’s representatives for their collaboration in making this loan move happen.
“Martin is an exceptional talent and we are strengthening our squad by introducing an exciting offensive player to the club for the remaining months of this season.”