Despite impressing in recent performances and even bagging a goal in his first North London Derby, Paul Merson has called on Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to drop Martin Odegaard from the side until they can sign him permanently from Real Madrid.
Merson feels that while Odegaard gains minutes, he is blocking the likes of Emile Smith Rowe from getting valuable first team football experience – a sentiment that has been echoed by fellow Arsenal legends Tony Adams and Martin Keown.
Speaking to the Daily Star, Merson said: “Martin Odegaard looks a really good player and I hope Arsenal have a chance of signing him permanently.
“Because if they don’t have a chance of making his loan permanent next season, why is he playing?
“If they know he doesn’t want to stay, he shouldn’t be playing because he’s taking opportunities away from people like Emile Smith Rowe.
“So, I hope Arsenal have done their homework and know what the situation is – I’d be disappointed if they haven’t already made a bid to be honest.”
Odegaard’s recent performances have left many of the Arsenal faithful desperate to sign him on a permanent basis, the first of his two goals for the Gunners coming at a vital time in the first-leg of their Europa League clash with Olympiacos.
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Arteta is on the record as saying he is very happy with the midfielder, and the Spaniard is thought to be keen on the idea of keeping Odegaard at the Emirates beyond this campaign.
However, his recent form has put him in the shop window to a number of clubs, with London rivals Chelsea rumoured to be lurking.
It remains unclear whether Arsenal will have the kind of funds required to buy the Norwegian national team captain outright.