Arsenal continue to grow in confidence over a deal to re-sign Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard, who spent the second half of last season on loan at the Emirates Stadium.
Despite Arsenal’s wishes to keep him, Odegaard returned to Madrid at the end of the campaign in the hope of establishing himself with Los Blancos.
However, the 22-year-old Norwegian, while liked by Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, is unlikely to command the regular place that he craves and is free to leave if a deal can be agreed.
90min revealed earlier this month that talks between Arsenal and Real over Odegaard had started up again after sporadic contact had been maintained throughout the summer.
Sources have already confirmed to 90min that there is a belief from both clubs and the player’s camp that a deal is increasingly likely to be agreed. Real have been wanting an outright sale to go through this summer, while Arsenal were hoping for a loan with an option or obligation to buy next year, and both potentials deals have been discussed by the clubs.
David Ornstein of The Athletic now writes that an agreement over a permanent transfer is ‘close’. The key breakthrough has not yet been reached but it is said that Odegaard did not train as normal with Real on Tuesday ahead of the potential transfer.
An attacking midfielder forms a central part of Arsenal’s summer transfer strategy. The Gunners set out with the ambition of signing a centre-back, full-back, goalkeeper and two midfielders, already ticking off three of those in the shape of Ben White, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Arsenal did have hopes of spending up to £250m on the right individuals as part of a major squad rebuild and have been specifically targeting players younger than 25 with the potential to both develop at the club and increase in value over the long-term.
It was hoped that a number of players might leave to help fund that vast budget but so far only Joe Willock has departed the club for a cash sum, joining Newcastle for up to £25m.