Arsenal are within touching distance of announcing Martin Odegaard’s loan signing from Real Madrid until the end of the season.
Having been asked about the deal during a previous press conference, Mikel Arteta refused to be drawn on the speculation suggesting Arsenal would sign the Norwegian, claiming he wouldn’t comment on players of other clubs.
Following the disappointing FA Cup exit to Southampton on Saturday the question was posed to him once more, this time being more open on the topic with the news having filtered through the media in the days building up to the fourth round clash.
“Obviously we played today, so since last night I don’t have any news” he told the official Arsenal website. “Probably, I will get a few phone calls today and see where we are with every deal.”
Arsenal very close to announcing loan signing of Martin Odegaard
Responding as such when asked about Martin Odegaard strongly hinted towards a welcome conclusion, one that football.london have added to be stating the 22-year-old is ‘very close’ to joining the club.
The absence of a creative midfielder was telling against the Saints, as Willian failed to assume the mantle left to him by Emile Smith Rowe with an ineffective display. In the first half, for example, he didn’t record a single pass to either wide players. Poor displays were prevalent throughout the team, so the Brazilian was not alone in that regard.
Without the influence of Smith Rowe or Bukayo Saka from the start, Arsenal struggled for ball retention and fluency, while in midfield the skillset of a certain Ghanaian was also sorely missed.
No creative spark exists in that final third without Smith Rowe. Bringing in cover for him, and other positions where he can slot into, is essential and the sooner Arsenal close the deal the better for his integration.
Reinforcements in that area were clear before, yet after having seen Willian underwhelm in a makeshift No. 10 role and Nicolas Pepe produce a characteristically inconsistent performance, the need for more bodies was amplified.
When we can expect an announcement after Mesut Ozil‘s departure is confirmed, or if Alex Runarsson leaves. Arsenal currently have one too many non-homegrown players in the squad and someone’s absence will free up Odegaard’s place. Given the failings of those granted a chance on Saturday, it could well be more than a loan further down the line.