Martin Odegaard has given Arsenal a potential transfer setback after revealing his opinion on Real Madrid’s new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The Italian left Everton to make a shock return to the Bernabeu and replace Zinedine Zidane earlier this week.
He was Los Blancos’ boss at the time that they signed a then 16-year-old Odegaard in January 2015 and handed the Norwegian midfielder his debut for Real later that year.
However, the pair’s relationship has been placed under intense scrutiny after quotes emerged from Ancelotti‘s book “Quiet Leadership”, which claimed that he in fact did not want to sign Odegaard for Real.
“When Florentino [Perez] buys a Norwegian footballer, you simply have to accept it,” wrote the Italian.
“Furthermore, the president decided that he would play three games with the first team as a public relations exercise.
“He could be the best player in the world, but I don’t care because he was not a player who I asked for. That signing was to do with PR.”
This had raised hopes that Arsenal may be able to re-sign the 22-year-old this summer after he enjoyed an impressive loan spell at the Emirates in the second half of this season scoring twice and grabbing two more assists.
football.london understands that he is among the list of targets the Gunners are looking at as they seek to bolster the creative midfield options available to Mikel Arteta for the coming campaign.
However, the Norwegian may have given Arsenal’s hopes of signing him something of a knock after declaring that his relationship with Ancelotti was positive during their time together at Real.
“It is a coach I know and with whom I had a good relationship when he was last there. In that sense, it is positive,” Odegaard told TV2 when asked about the former Chelsea and Bayern Munich manager’s appointment.
“But beyond that, one day has passed, so I do not know too much about what he thinks about things.”
When asked specifically about the comments in Ancelotti’s book the 22-year-old went on to add: “There was a bit of talk about it last time.
“Then I think maybe it was misinterpreted a bit by some, but that’s the way it is. It’s not something I stress about.
“What he said was probably just that I was a player for the future. And that in Madrid you often do not have as good a time as a coach.
“It was probably more what he said, so I do not put much into it.”
For his part Ancelotti has already attempted to extend something of an olive branch to Odegaard by praising his quality in his first press conference after his return to the Bernabeu.
“With this squad, without loan players like [Gareth] Bale, [Martin] Odegaard and [Dani] Ceballos, Madrid reached the Champions League semis and fought for La Liga,” said the 61-year-old. “So we have the players to win trophies.”
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This does not rule out the possibility of Odegaard moving to Arsenal this summer although if the player is happy to stay in Madrid then any deal would be made much more difficult as the Gunners are unlikely to have the funds required to tempt Real to sell under those circumstances.
However, signing a creative midfielder remains a priority for Arteta and Edu this summer.
Arsenal do have other targets though, such as Norwich City’s Emi Buendia, who is among the players the Gunners are looking at this summer.