Pundit rates Odegaard signing, but feels Arsenal star will be forced out

Date published: Sunday 24th January 2021 8:02 - James Marshment

Martin Keown reckons Arsenal have pulled off a transfer masterstroke in landing Martin Odegaard – but fears his arrival could mean curtains for another Gunners midfielder.

The Gunners are reported to have agreed a deal for the Norway playmaker. The Real Madrid star has seemingly spurned late rival interest to hook up with the Gunners for the rest of the season.

After joining the club as a 16-year-old six years ago, Odegaard has struggled to break into the first team. He was showing promise on loan at Real Sociedad last season, but then Madrid called him back.

This season hasn’t gone to plan though and a move to Arsenal should go through in the coming days.

Keown insists he’s happy with the addition of Odegaard to Arsenal’s ranks. However, he believes time could be up for Dani Ceballos as a result. The Spaniard joined the Gunners on a second season’s loan this term, also from Real Madrid.

However, having started just 10 of their 19 Premier League games this season, Keown has suggested he could return to Spain.

“I’m assuming Arsenal are all over it,” Keown told talkSPORT. “He [Odegaard] brings that quality into the midfield. It’s an area Arsenal need to strengthen.

“Does that mean [Dani] Ceballos will go? He’s on loan as well. Is he going to get football? Real Madrid may be concerned, he hasn’t played that much so far.”

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Campbell unsure how Odegaard will adapt

Another former Arsenal old boy Kevin Campbell, meanwhile, is uncertain whether Odegaard will prove a good signing.

He told Metro: “We’ve got enough experience in the squad to last a lifetime. We need to bring that age group down within the squad.

“Odegaard was on loan for the last season with Real Sociedad and did really well, went back to his parent club in Real Madrid and it hasn’t quite worked out for him.

“You’re thinking to yourself the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, they’re going to start to hit the buffers but Modric has been unbelievable this season, Kroos is still a world-class player. So he’s found chances limited.

“He’s not the type of kid who wants to just sit around, he wants to play, he’s a very talented player.

“It is a risk because I don’t know how he would react to playing in the Premier League but one thing I do know is he’s got the talent.”

Campbell also hopes the arrival of Odegaard will not impact the growth of Emile Smith Rowe, who has impressed in recent weeks.

“The fact that Smith Rowe has done great is a bonus, but you can’t build on the fact that the kid’s played a handful of games and is 20 years old,” he added.

“He’s going to hit the buffers at some stage, we don’t want him to. But the fact of the matter is when you look at the Crystal Palace game for instance, Smith Rowe wasn’t as effective as he could be. But that’s down to the way the opposition play.

“If you’re going to get somebody more a bit more experienced, they’ve got a little bit more know-how on how to unlock a defence.

“The key is to get flexible midfield players in, who can do different things. So maybe another midfielder with a Smith Rowe and a [Thomas] Partey makes a difference. It’s not necessarily Smith Rowe in or out, I think Arsenal need to revamp that midfield.”

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