Arsenal

Arsenal's decision to move for Ødegaard over Maddison has been vindicated

Harry Symeou
Martin Odegaard turned in a brilliant display for Arsenal vs Leicester at the weekend
Martin Odegaard turned in a brilliant display for Arsenal vs Leicester at the weekend / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages
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Martin Odegaard's dazzling display versus Leicester City, in front of the TV cameras has seen Arsenal's summer signing finally earn the wider recognition his performances in recent weeks have deserved – reinforcing the view that Mikel Arteta was right to invest in him as opposed to breaking the bank for James Maddison.

Having only impressed in patches during his loan spell last season, the fanbase was divided on whether at approximately £30m, the Norwegian would represent good value. A series of mistakes in the transfer market had scarred the Arsenal faithful.

With rumours flying around left, right and centre that same summer, the Londoners were linked with a big money move for Maddison, a player many felt could have an instant impact. It's not clear how close, if at all, Arsenal got to landing the former Norwich star but what's abundantly clear now is that they made the right decision.

Odegaard's influence on this new-look side goes way beyond just goals and assists. In fact, that's only a small part of what he contributes to Arteta's game model. His technical brilliance, along with his superb work-rate makes him the perfect fit for a system built upon concise, high-octane passing, pressing and movement both in and out of possession.

Spotted at an early age by Spanish giants Real Madrid, Odegaard was picked up at just 16-years-old but after numerous loan spells with the likes of Heerenveen and Real Sociedad to name a few, he's finally found a home and somewhere to lay down some roots in N7.

Stability is an underrated and often rare commodity in the modern game. To never know where you'll be playing your football beyond the next six months makes it almost impossible to feel invested in a project or develop a connection with any set of fans.

Comparatively speaking, in theory, signing Odegaard was a much bigger risk than spending big on Maddison who had managed 11 goals and ten assists with the Foxes in the season prior.

Arteta and Edu took a calculated risk but it's one that has paid off thus far. Like with much of their recruitment last summer, their view on what a player could become as opposed to their current level was at the forefront of their thoughts and in a number of cases, their pre-assessments of potential signings have proven accurate.

The 23-year-old is often lauded for his creativity but the fact he can be equally effective off of the ball makes him the perfect man to lead the second line of press and set the standard in terms of the energy and commitment.

He dictates the tempo, carries out the manager's instructions to perfection and has a much stronger influence over his teammates and the overall performance of his side than Maddison - vindicating the club's decision to opt for the Norwegian.

While the Englishman is a brilliant footballer in his own right with plenty to offer, Odegaard has proven himself to be the perfect fit within Arteta's vision – something in the past, at times, many have struggled to see.

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