Exclusive - Arsenal are continuing talks with Real Madrid over a permanent deal for attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard, having remained in sporadic contact over the summer.
The Norwegian, who captains his country, spent the second half of the 2020/21 campaign on loan at the Emirates Stadium and was largely impressive, even though Arsenal struggled to find any kind of consistency in the Premier League.
The Gunners have been hunting for a creative midfielder all summer and Odegaard has always been at the top of Mikel Arteta's wish list; one that has also included Emi Buendia, James Maddison and Philippe Coutinho at various points.
Coutinho remains of significant interest to Arsenal, but 90min understands that dialogue has again opened with Real Madrid over Odegaard - who Arteta is particularly keen to land.
Initially tipped to stay in Spain this season, it's unclear how prominently Odegaard will feature this season for Real Madrid under new boss Carlo Ancelotti, with sources close to the player doubting he'll be given much of an opportunity.
That could open the door for Arsenal to swoop back in, and the club believe they can get a permanent deal done having looked again at the numbers - initially there was concern over the transfer fee for Odegaard and his sizeable wage demands.
Arsenal gave the green light earlier this summer to spend up to £250m on new signings, and it's now likely they will have a further £25m added to the pot. Terms have been agreed with Newcastle for the permanent transfer of Joe Willock - the Magpies are likely to pay the fee in full - and it's now down to the player to decide whether he wants to move back to St James' Park permanently.
The money from that sale could be used as added ammunition to push for Odegaard, who ironically is in the same position as the aforementioned Willock - both players feel they are good enough to play for their parent clubs but are unsure whether or not they will be given a chance to prove their worth.
Odegaard would prefer to join Arsenal again if he does leave Real, but it remains to be seen whether he'll push for another loan rather than a permanent switch. He's previously left Madrid on a temporary basis to play for Heerenveen, Vitesse Arnhem and Real Sociedad.