Martin Odegaard has joined Arsenal on a six-month loan deal from Real Madrid after receiving limited minutes under Zinedine Zidane.
With the departure of Mesut Ozil to Fenerbahce and an injury to Emile Smith Row, Arsenal were left with a serious void in their attacking midfield department. However, it did not take long for the Gunners to make necessary changes as they were quick to announce the signing of Martin Odegaard on a six-month loan deal from Real Madrid. The Norwegian midfielder joins the likes of Dani Ceballos who is also currently on loan from the Spanish capital.
There has been a lot of talk on what exactly does Odegaard brings to the table for Mikel Arteta. The Gunners were also looking at Julian Draxler of Paris Saint-Germain, and a few others. But when Real Madrid were open to the idea of loaning out their young Norwegian, it did not take much for Arteta and Arsenal to lock on horns on Martin Odegaard.
The hype surrounding the arrival of the 22-year-old at the Emirates Stadium is quite understandable given how successful Odegaard was at Real Sociedad in the 2019/20 season. However, expecting the former Sociedad midfielder do the unthinkable in six-months time seems to be too far-fetched.
The first expectation from Odegaard would be to cover Emile Smith Rowe’s position. Martin Odegaard was ranked amongst the best midfielders in La Liga during the 2019/20 season. Mainly because of his ball progression skill and his ability to play the final ball into the opponent’s half. In fact, the Norwegian topped the charts of the most passes played into the opposition box which proves how influential his skillset is when required to split open the opposition defence.
Covering Emile Smith Rowe’s position in the heart of the midfield will certainly be Mikel Arteta’s main priority. However, Odegaard can also operate from the right-wing as well. His natural ability to drift to more central positions from the right-flank would provide the Gunner’s the opportunity to exploit the wides areas through the pace of Hector Bellerin.
Apart from his creative ability, the Real Madrid superstar is also skillful on the ball and can easily beat past defenders with the slightest of touches. Be it retaining possession or distributing the ball around the flanks, Martin Odegaard can do it all. He’s also a set-piece specialist and can occasionally take a free-kick from the right-hand side of the field.
However, the possibility of Odegaard failing to live up to expectations could be on the cards as well. The 22-year-old has barely played at the Spanish capital this season after receiving a rather sporadic role by Zinedine Zidane who had recalled him from loan to the contrary. It will certainly be a challenge for the youngster to adapt and deliver all within six months in one of the most competitive and physically demanding leagues in the world.
This season itself has proved that several players from foreign leagues have taken time to adapt to the English top-flight. The case of Martin Odegaard could potentially be no different as well. Nonetheless, Arsenal are up against Manchester United next in the Premier League and it would be interesting to see whether Mikel Arteta slots his new signing straight into the starting eleven or not.