Arsenal are on the verge of signing Norway international Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid for the remainder of the 2020/21 season, with the midfielder having grown frustrated at his lack of chances with Los Blancos since returning to the club last summer.
At a time when every big club in Europe wanted a piece of him, Odegaard joined Real in 2015 at the age of just 16. He struggled to establish himself initially, caught between the first team and the reserve squad, but loans at Heerenveen, Vitesse Arnhem and Real Sociedad proved a success.
The latter spell in San Sebastian was supposed to last for two years, but his form for the Basque side – playing 31 times in La Liga as they finished sixth, prompted his parent club to recall him early.
Odegaard made his first league appearance for Los Blancos in over five years when he lined up against Real Sociedad on the opening weekend of the 2020/21 season. But notwithstanding a couple of injury spells, he wasn’t getting the chances he thought he would be when he returned early.
When it became clear that he wanted to leave on loan again, Arsenal swooped in.
How much will Arsenal pay for Martin Odegaard?
While it is only a loan, Arsenal are still expected to pay a loan fee of £1.8m. Taking into account that the Gunners will also pay a portion of Odegaard’s £38,000 weekly wages, their total investment in the player for the next four months will be around £2.8m.
There is, however, no option to make the deal a permanent one. That means if Arsenal do wish to keep Odegaard any longer than the short-term loan they will have to persuade Real to sell in fresh negotiations, while potentially also dealing with rival suitors.
What Arsenal shirt number will Martin Odegaard wear?
The free transfer of Mesut Ozil to Fenerbahce tantalisingly leaves Arsenal’s number ten shirt available, which would suit Odegaard as an attacking midfielder. It is also the jersey he already wears at international level for Norway as the team’s chief source of creativity.
The player most recently wore ten at club level during his second season on loan at Heerenveen.
Number 11 is also free at Arsenal and Odegaard has worn it sporadically in the past for both Norway and Real Madrid Castilla. His current shirt number at Real is 21, which he also wore for Real Sociedad, but that is currently occupied at Arsenal by Calum Chambers.
His far greater attachment, however, is to the number ten. Besides Ozil, it has been worn in the past at Arsenal by Gunners legends Dennis Bergkamp and Paul Merson, as well as Jack Wilshere, Robin van Persie and, rather bizarrely, William Gallas.
What is Martin Odegaard’s FIFA 21 or PES 21 rating?
As an attacking midfielder, Odegaard’s standard FIFA card is rated at a respectable 83. He scores well across the attacking attributes, coming in at 78 for pace, 75 for shooting, 84 for passing and 84 for dribbling. Higher quality special Ultimate Team cards are also available rated at 85 overall.
His potential on FIFA 21 career mode goes as high as 89, while he has five-star skills.
If you are a Pro Evolution Soccer player instead, his PES 21 rating is also 83.
Who were Arsenal’s other options?
Arsenal have been linked with a handful of players who would have filled a similar role had they not pushed ahead with a deal to sign Odegaard.
Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard is one name that has been linked over a period of several months, although he now appears likely to join West Ham on loan.
Julian Draxler is another who has often been speculated to be an Arsenal target in recent years. There is fresh gossip that PSG are interested in offering some kind of swap deal that would see them land Matteo Guendouzi, but the likelihood is that Draxler stays in Paris until at least the summer.
Papu Gomez looks set to leave Atalanta, but journalist Fabrizio Romano tweeted last week that the almost 32-year-old Argentine, who is reported to have fallen out with coach Gian Piero Gasperini, was not being considered as an option by the Arsenal hierarchy, and he is instead set to join Sevilla.
Romano also said that interest in Emi Buendia never extended to official talks with Norwich after initial informal contact with his representatives. The Canaries were also rumoured to be demanding an eye-watering £50m for the Championship midfielder.