Real Madrid’s Martin Ødegaard has officially joined Arsenal on-loan for the remainder of the season.
The Norwegian, who’s initial two-year loan at Real Sociedad was cut short by a year by parent club Madrid, failed to make much of an impact upon returning under head coach Zinedine Zidane.
Ødegaard revealed that a phonecall from Zidane had initially changed his mind, and he agreed to come back to Madrid from La Real, as he was promised a major role in Zidane’s title winning team.
And while that didn’t happen, it’s could prove to be Zidane and Real’s loss, as Mikel Arteta managed to convince the 22-year old to join him at the Gunners. Ødegaard told Arsenal.com:
“I spoke to him before coming here, of course. That was very important for me and he seems like a top manager and I liked his ideas, the way he sees football and also the way he is. He gave me a great feeling and that was important for me to come here. He was crucial. I think every time you go to a new place, you want to make sure that it feels good and that there is a plan. But I think everything here just seems good. I like the club and I always liked the way that the club wants to play. Everything about the club and now how the manager wants to play, I think it’s a club that really suits me well. So I think it’s a good match.”
Of course, Ødegaard joins another Real loanee at the Emirates in Dani Ceballos.
Another player who didn’t impress Zidane enough to enter his regular plans, the Spaniard played his role in attracting the young Norway international:
“Yes, he texted me the other day and he had only good things to say about the club, the manager and everything. That was also important for me and he was happy for me to come here, so that was a good thing for me, to know someone here and to hear from someone inside the club as well. It’s good. It has been some hectic days but I’ve been talking to the club, to the manager and it seems like a great project and a great club. I’m just so excited and when I had the chance to come here, I felt like it was a really good chance to take. So I’m really happy to be here.”
There has even been somewhat of a dig at Zidane by Erling Haaland, a major transfer target for Madrid.
The Borussia Dortmund star, who enjoys receiving passes from Ødegaard on international duty, said:
“It’ll be exciting to see Ødegaard at Arsenal, I think he’ll adapt well and enjoy football in England. Arteta needs to play him regularly, once he recovers his confidence, he’ll do unbelievable things. We know how good Ødegaard can be. When he gains confidence with the ball, you know incredible things can happen.”
Whether this short loan extends to a permanent deal for Arsenal in the future, and whether it ends up being a huge mistake by Zidane and the hierarchy of Los Merengues, only time will tell.