Martin Odegaard bids farewell to Arsenal after loan ends

Martin Odegaard has returned to Real Madrid
Martin Odegaard has returned to Real Madrid / SOPA Images/Getty Images

Martin Odegaard has confirmed he will not be returning to Arsenal this summer after his loan from Real Madrid came to an end.

The Norwegian enjoyed a productive six-month spell at the Emirates Stadium in the second half of last season, chipping in with two goals and two assists in 20 appearances, and Arsenal were keen to bring him back permanently this summer.

A transfer always seemed unlikely and Arsenal's chances of landing Odegaard permanently were dealt a huge blow by the departure of former Real boss Zinedine Zidane, whose lack of faith in the young midfielder was the entire reason he had to leave the club on loan in the first place.

Arsenal have been looking elsewhere in their search for a number ten, including a failed pursuit of Emiliano Buendia. They seem to know that a move for Odegaard isn't happening, but the player himself has now confirmed that anyway.

"Arsenal, thank you so much for these six months," he wrote on Instagram. "My time with the Arsenal family will always hold a special place in my heart.

"I want to thank everyone in and around the club for the way you made me feel like part of the family since the first day. Special thanks to the fans, even without you guys in the stadium for the majority of the season, I felt you with me at all times.

"A huge thank you to the boss and his staff for everything I've learned during my stay. Thank you also to all my team-mates for such a great time on and off the pitch. I'll miss you all. Thank you, Gunners family. Always in my heart."

New Real boss Carlo Ancelotti is expected to give Odegaard the chance to impress at the Santiago Bernabeu this season and is likely to hand him the space in the squad which had been taken up by Isco, who is available for transfer this summer.

As for Arsenal, the search for a new number 10 continues. The plan is to tie Emile Smith Rowe down to a new contract, but Mikel Arteta still wants somebody new to offer some extra competition.

Leicester City's James Maddison is thought to be the top target but is almost certainly going to be too expensive, leaving Arsenal looking at other options. Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho has been unconvincingly named as a potential target, while recent reports have linked Arsenal with a £15m move for RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer.

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