Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes Martin Odegaard shouldn’t be playing unless the Gunners intend to make his loan deal permanent.
The Norwegian midfielder his impressed since joining on loan in the January transfer window, racking up 12 appearances, helping the Gunners pick up valuable points along the way.
Odegaard‘s performances have led to calls from supporters and pundits alike for Arsenal to get a permanent deal done this summer, but it appears that is not likely.
Real Madrid want their Norwegian international back in the Spanish capital this summer, but if that’s the cause, Mikel Arteta should be looking to give others the opportunity of game time.
“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!”
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Speaking about Odegaard’s impact so far, Merson added: “It took him a while to adjust but you have to give him the ball. He gets into lots of good positions, and to start with his team-mates weren’t seeing him.
“They weren’t giving him the ball. But now he’s getting it more often and he’s making things happen. He can hurt opposing teams.
“It’s almost a free role and for someone so young to be trusted with such a difficult position at such a young age is a big deal.
“But if he’s okay after his injury and he helps Arsenal win the Europa League, Real Madrid will probably want him back – or add a lot more money to his asking price.”