Low-risk, high-reward Martin Ødegaard gives Arsenal options

Arsenal officially announced the loan signing of Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard on Wednesday. The agreement between the two big clubs keeps the Norway international in north London until the end of the current campaign. While it is a short-term loan, reports have also suggested that the Gunners will be allowed to hold talks with Real regarding a possible permanent transfer this summer.

Previously dubbed “golden boy” due to his astonishing ability at such a young age, Odegaard obviously has the ability to play with practically any team on the planet. Nevertheless, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane hasn’t exactly made the now 22-year-old midfielder a priority just yet. In fact, Odegaard has only started one La Liga game since he was subbed off at halftime on September 26th against Real Betis. With the attacker receiving just 232 total minutes on the pitch in league play this season, it was time for Martin to make a move.

The deal will reportedly cost Arsenal around $3.4 million in total (including loan fee and wages). Looking around Europe, there really aren’t many short-term deals to receive a quality player like Odegaard, while also keeping costs down quite like this. It is a great example of a low-risk, high-reward move.

Ultimately, if Odegaard performs well and keeps Arsenal moving up the table, then it was certainly a great deal for the Gunners. If the Norwegian fails to hit the ground running, then it at least would not have cost the club much money and he would be on his way back to Madrid this summer.

READ MORE: Schedule of Arsenal games on US TV and streaming

The need for another attacking midfielder in this Arsenal team has been incredibly obvious to anyone that regularly watches their games. Although Emile Smith Rowe has done an outstanding job since his introduction into the team last month, it would be difficult to place most of the creative responsibility squarely on his shoulders. Odegaard should help with this burden and bring more offensive creativity to this Arsenal team.

Positionally, Odegaard has mostly been deployed as a number 10 creative midfielder; however, he can also operate on the flanks as well. While on loan at Vitesse in 2018/19, Odegaard played most of his games as a right winger. Versatility is always good with creative players, but with Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli, Willian, and Reiss Nelson all wide players in the current Arsenal side, Odegaard will most likely play a majority of his matches in the number 10 spot.

The Norway international really excelled during his 2019/20 loan at Real Sociedad. While receiving regular playing time on the pitch, Odegaard racked up four goals and six assists in 31 total league matches with the Spanish outfit. However, this does not tell the whole story of his creative output. Among all La Liga players, he ranked ninth in key passes, sixth in shot creations, third in passes into penalty area, and eighth in progressive passes.

As with most creative players, regular playing time is crucial to getting into a rhythm while performing at a high level. This could be key to how Odegaard will be remembered during his time with Arsenal. If he can replicate, or even elevate, his play from last season with Real Sociedad, then Arsenal fans could be set for a very interesting end to the season in the coming months.

 

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