Freddie Ljungberg has said he “doesn’t understand” Arsenal’s decision to sign Martin Odegaard on loan.
Prior to the January window opening, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu had two transfer missions that they wanted to complete.
One was to trim the first-team squad and the other was to bring in a creative playmaker to solve their attacking problems.
To Arteta and Edu’s credit, both missions were achieved as Arsenal managed to get high-earners Mesut Ozil, Sokratis, and Shkodran Mustafi off the wage bill whilst also loaning out the likes of William Saliba, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, and Sead Kolasinac.
And amid links to the likes of Emi Buendia, Julian Brandt, Isco and plenty others, the creative midfielder void was eventually filled by Odegaard.
But only on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season.
A decision that has ‘surprised’ Ljungberg as he doesn’t understand why his former club are developing Odegaard for Real Madrid and effectively blocking the progress of Emile Smith Rowe.
“I think Odegaard is a great player, don’t get me wrong, but if you have young players in kind of the same position that you want to develop, take someone in on loan that you don’t have the buying option for to develop for another club, I don’t understand that,” Ljungberg said on Sky Sports before Odegaard scored in the north London derby win over Tottenham.
“If we want to go forward with Arsenal as a football club, it’s the young ones that are going to make a difference – they need games and Emile doesn’t need to play as a winger when moving for another player, he needs to play in his position.”
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Ljungberg’s admission comes after Odegaard revealed what conditions must be met in order for him to return to Real Madrid or possibly seal a permanent Arsenal stay.
“I said many times that I’ve been looking for stability (in same club), but haven’t found it,” he told VG.
“I think it’ll be important to find stability. I’m very happy at Arsenal, enjoying myself. I like it here. Now my focus is to finish the season, then we’ll see.”