Arsenal have completed the signing of Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season.
The 22-year-old midfielder made it clear he wanted to leave in January in order to play regular first-team football, having played just nine times in all competitions for Real Madrid this season.
Mikel Arteta will be able to call upon Odegaard for Saturday’s clash with Manchester United, live on Sky Sports, with Odegaard to wear the number 11 shirt at the Emirates.
Odegaard’s decision to move to the Premier League was aided by a chat with the Arsenal manager.
“I spoke to him (Arteta) before coming here, of course,” Odegaard told Arsenal’s website. “That was very important for me and he seems like a top manager and I liked his ideas, the way he sees football and also the way he is.
“He gave me a great feeling and that was important for me to come here. He was crucial.
“I think every time you go to a new place, you want to make sure that it feels good and that there is a plan. But I think everything here just seems good. I like the club and I always liked the way that the club wants to play. Everything about the club and now how the manager wants to play, I think it’s a club that really suits me well. So I think it’s a good match.”
Arteta said: “It’s great that we’ve secured Martin to come to us until the end of the season. Martin is of course a player that we all know very well and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while. Martin will provide us with quality offensive options and we’re all excited to be integrating him into our plans between now and May.”
Real Sociedad were keen on re-signing Odegaard following his season-long loan stint last year, but it is thought Real Madrid’s preference was to send him to a club outside La Liga.
Odegaard registered seven goals and nine assists across 36 appearances on loan at Sociedad last season, leading Real Madrid to cut short his two-year loan and make him part of their first-team squad.
A number of Premier League clubs were also interested in Odegaard, including Leicester, although the Foxes opted not to pursue the Norway international after preliminary discussions.
What will one-time wonderkid Odegaard bring to the Premier League?
Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:
What will Odegaard bring to the Premier League? Well, hype, hope and a lot of media attention for starters.
The attention of the footballing world was centred on him in 2015 when, a month after his 16th birthday, Real Madrid won the race for his signature – and the interest in the now 22-year-old is set to ignite again.
Already a Norway international when he joined Real, Odegaard – who had drawn excitable comparisons with Lionel Messi – immediately began training with the first team and became the club’s youngest-ever player in the final game of that season.
Back then, the anticipation of what Odegaard would become at the Bernabeu knew no bounds – but his progress, perhaps disappointingly for some, has been quieter since, as the gradual progression of a midfield technician has taken shape.
Patience is paying off now, though. After an underwhelming 18-month loan spell at Heerenveen, Odegaard had a standout season at Vitesse in 2018/19, creating more chances than any other player in the Dutch top flight, and finishing third in the assists chart to Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech.
He backed it up with an impressive season at Real Sociedad last year, when he hit double figures for goal contributions, and was recalled to Real Madrid as a result.
While a way into Zinedine Zidane’s line-up has ultimately been hard to find, Arsenal have landed a classy creator, a pass-master and an attacking midfielder with a fine touch and bright awareness of the game.
Odegaard will bring excitement on the pitch as well as off it.
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