Mikel Arteta reveals how Arsenal secured Martin Odegaard return

Krishan Davis
Odegaard and Arteta during his loan last season
Odegaard and Arteta during his loan last season / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed that a U-turn from Real Madrid allowed the Gunners to sign attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard on a permanent transfer.

Odegaard was a prime target for Arsenal this summer following his successful loan during the second half of last season, with Arteta keen to add some much-needed creativity to his squad for 2021/22.

Martin Odegaard
Odegaard spent pre-season with Real Madrid / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

The Norwegian eventually returned to the Emirates Stadium last week on a permanent basis, despite it seeming unlikely a deal would happen earlier in the window. The player himself believed he would feature in Carlo Ancelotti's plans at the Bernabeu back in June, and the north Londoners were persistently linked with a move for Leicester's James Maddison in the meantime.

However, they eventually got their man.

Speaking to Arsenal's official website, Arteta revealed a sudden, unexplained change in Real Madrid's stance facilitated the transfer, while the player had remained keen.

“I was really happy [to sign Odegaard] because at one stage we thought it wouldn’t be possible," he said. "Madrid wasn’t very keen on selling the player. Martin always expressed his desire to come, but it wasn’t looking very possible and then the door opened."

"Straight away the club was really supportive and Edu did a great job to manage the situation and we got the player that we wanted and we know because we have experience already with him for six months."

The Arsenal head coach went on to explain just why the Gunners had decided to bring the Norway captain back to the club.

“I think he makes the rest of the players around him better," he added. "His work ethic is phenomenal, the way he goes about his job, his professionalism, his character, he’s a very likeable person.

"I think he has fitted really well into the culture and then for the way we want to play he’s a player with exceptional qualities to add to them.”

Arsenal will hope the 22-year-old will hit the ground running. The north London club have made one of their worst ever starts to a season with consecutive 2-0 defeats to Brentford and Chelsea respectively.

It has been reported that Arteta has been given just five more games to guarantee his future, otherwise the club's hierarchy may be forced to take drastic action.