Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard is flourishing in an Arsenal shirt because of the Gunners’ brand of football.
That is according to former Liverpool and Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman.
Odegaard joined Arsenal on loan in the latter stages of the January transfer window to help bolster his prospects of earning more regular first-team football, as well as improve the Gunners’ attacking output from midfield.
The Gunners, who were held to a 1-1 draw in the first-leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final by Slavia Prague last night, were linked with a cluster of attacking-midfielders during January, including Norwich City starlet Emiliano Buendia.
But after several weeks of rumours and speculation, the Gunners landed Madrid ace Odegaard on loan for the remainder of the campaign. Although he took a few weeks to settle into his new surroundings, the former Real Sociedad loanee has started to blossom in north London, cementing himself as a regular in Mikel Arteta’s plans.
So far, Odegaard has racked up 13 appearances, chipping in with two goals. Although his goals tally does not make for particularly stunning reading, his performances have been about much more, proving to be an integral part of the Gunners’ attacking plan and Arteta’s vision.
And for BT Sport commentator McManaman, Odegaard’s success at the Emirates Stadium has come as little surprise, as he saw just how talented he was during his loan spell at Sociedad.
“Real Madrid have seen him play enough times and they’ve had him around the squad enough times and at the start of this season they did want to keep hold of him and they wanted him to be a success but for some reason he wasn’t that player they wanted him to be,” McManaman told HorseRacing.net.
“He’s certainly had the opportunities. I saw him play for Real Sociedad and he was arguably their best player, but I believe that maybe in a star-studded team which Real Madrid has, that he wasn’t able to stand out because of the other players around him.
“Maybe it’s the team rather than the player because he’s fantastic on the ball and looks excellent, but potentially it’s the way that Real play which is the reason for Martin not succeeding there as of yet.”
Whether Odegaard will get the opportunity to impress back at the Bernabeu next season remains to be seen, as Real are, according to reports keen to get a good, solid look at him, but Arsenal are keen to keep hold of him themselves.
The summer transfer window is just around the corner.
And the rumour mill is already starting to pick up speed.
Arsenal will not have a huge amount of money to spend, but Mikel Arteta will be hoping to make a number of moves, with loanee Martin Odegaard high up the list of priorities to bring in on a permanent deal.
But who would you sign? Get involved in our transfer window debate here.
If past history continues to be a trend, Odegaard will want to think long and hard about his future this summer. That is because players who have struggled for opportunities at Madrid in the past have left the club to seek opportunities elsewhere, which is something McManaman has referred to when reviewing Odegaard’s recent performances.
“When you have a squad as big as Real Madrid’s, then there are going to be players who just want to play, that’s why they let Achraf Hakimi go to Inter Milan and why they let Marcos Llorente go to Atletico Madrid,” the former Liverpool man added.
“For young players, it’s detrimental to their development if they’re not playing and I believe that Odegaard is benefiting at Arsenal due to the way that they play and he’s excelling there.”