There may yet be hope for Arsenal as they look to extend Martin Odegaard’s deal beyond this season.
And that has led to calls for Arsenal to make his transfer permanent, but it’s not that easy with Real Madrid viewing Odegaard as a ‘fundamental piece’ of their future, according to reports in Spain.
There’s also the small matter of a £301million release clause that Arsenal have no hope in triggering, leaving the Gunners’ hopes in the hands of Real Madrid.
And while a permanent deal appears to be off the table, despite the hopes of Arsenal fans, it’s not impossible Odegaard returns to North London on a second loan deal, much like Dani Ceballos did ahead of this season.
Hopes of making that happen likely rest on the future of another man in Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, whose future is yet to be decided heading into the summer.
Real Madrid are looking very much like La Liga outsiders, currently six points off the pace of leaders Atletico Madrid, and having been embarrassed in the Copa del Rey by Alcoyano, Zidane’s hopes of keeping his job likely ride on winning the Champions League, where Los Blancos will face Liverpool in the quarter-finals.
Zidane is under contract until 2022, but he might not get another season, and that’s significant for Odegaard who still has dreams of playing for Real Madrid.
He told TV2 during international duty this week: “Yes, as I have said many times when you sign there, the goal is always to play there. It is of course a big dream.”
Odegaard hoped to get his chance last season after returning from a hugely impressive spell with Real Sociedad, but he was limited to just seven La Liga appearances.
That led the Norwegian to put in a loan request, which suggests he won’t put up with going back again and would prefer to spend another year on loan than warming the Real Madrid bench next season.
That’s where Arsenal could have an in, but they ought to hope Zidane keeps his job.
The French boss has his midfield favourites at Santiago Bernabeu with the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, and that’s why Odegaard hasn’t had much of a chance.
But Zidane was disappointed Odegaard asked to go out on loan, saying that he had hoped the Norwegian would stay and ‘fight’ for his place.
Odegaard, however, was not impressed with being kept out of the side having proved himself on loan at La Real, a spell so good that he was led to believe he would get his chance heading into this season.
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The situation has reportedly led to a lapse in trust between Odegaard and Zidane, and should the French legend remain in his seat heading into next season, Arsenal will have the best opportunity they can ask for to land their man, even if it is only on loan for another season.
Though, if Zidane, who has been linked with Juventus in recent days, does leave, it appears very likely Odegaard will return to the Spanish capital with a fresh start and a fresh opportunity in the offing.