Martin Odegaard has hinted for the first time that he is ready to make a permanent move to Arsenal this summer – but only if two of his needs are satisfied.
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. Excelling in the No 10 role, the Norwegian had a 93% pass completion rate and created four chances.
Odegaard’s display was comfortably his best in an Arsenal shirt and left Gunners fans clamouring for a permanent deal.
The Norwegian is only at Arsenal on loan for now. Their prospects of a deal took something of a backward step on Monday when it was revealed the huge exit clause that exists in his deal.
However, those hopes have now increased somewhat after an admission from Odegaard that he appears keen to stay.
“I haven’t thought about what’ll happen in summer,” he told VG. “My deal with Arsenal is until the end of season. We’ll see what happens this summer.”
Pressed again if he could stay at Arsenal, Odegaard stated the two factors that are most important to him.
“I’ve said things before that I still stand for: Stability and development are key words.”
That is clearly the midfielder feels is lacking from his time at Real Madrid. Chances there have been few and far between for the Norwegian.
However, he seems to have found a home at Arsenal and Odegaard feels his relationship with Mikel Arteta is key.
Indeed, Odegaard was quick to praise the Gunners boss when asked how he’s unlocked his true potential.
“Very good. He is incredible,” he added. “I have a lot to learn from him. I just need to ‘sharpen my ears’ and pay attention. He is fantastic.
“It’s been about improving from the very beginning. I feel I quickly adapted and understood how we play. I lacked match fitness and self-confidence. The more games I’ve played, the better I’ve become. It’s a rising curve.”
Clearly the feeling is two-fold. Arteta was quick to praise the playmaker after their remarkable turnaround at the London Stadium.
“I think he had an incredible performance, he was very intelligent the way he read the game, the way he affected the game and again he showed how much he wants to win,” Arteta said.
“When everyone was a little bit trembling, he gave us that composure on the ball and he created chance after chance.
“I love talented and creative players that all the time are willing to take that ball and make things happen, that are mobile and also hard-working. He is one of them.
“We have some others with different qualities but it’s true that Martin is now giving us a different level on certain things that we didn’t have.”
Joshua King explains Odegaard influence
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.”