During his brief but encouraging spell at Arsenal, Martin Odegaard made quite an impression on Mikel Arteta as well as the majority of Arsenal fans. As far as we know, his transfer at around £30m and rising to £34m could be seen as a shrewd, if late, piece of business because the media deemed him to be the club’s main target.
However, if you look at how long this deal has taken, you could be forgiven for thinking that Edu and Co have been guilty of dithering whilst assessing other options closer to home. There’s also the belief that rather than the pledged funding from the Kroenke’s (Beavis and Butthead), Edu had to offload players before he could guarantee any further funding but it would appear that after the embarrassing defeat to Brentford, the popcorn kings of American football reluctantly gave the go-ahead to release more funds to secure at least three more players.
There were a few hurdles before the Norwegian finally arrived at the Emirates because of the inevitable bolt-ons that are part of any deal, but the good thing about this deal is that Real Madrid don’t have the buy-back option. He penned down a five-year contract that will keep him in North London till 2026.
However, I am surprised to see the lack of enthusiasm for the transfer on social media. Odegaard would prove to be of excellent value for the available potential, even if he needs more experience with many suggesting he could replace the great Dennis Bergkamp. Woah there partners !!!
A number of the subtle touches and ability to think quickly are certainly an ingredient of the Bergkamp game, but the main difference for me is the Dutchman’s ability to dish it out physically. For all his considerable and unquestionable skills, Bergkamp could play rough and he needed to do so in a league that eats up players who can’t mix it in the occasional cesspool of the Premiership.
Bergkamp would give as good as he got including interest, but let’s not think that the intelligent Odegaard couldn’t adapt. He may have to head to the gym three times a day to put on a few extra muscular pounds.
It was abundantly clear against Brentford that Arsenal are a lopsided, rudderless outfit who insist on playing out from the back (poorly) to feed Kieran Tierney on the left via Xhaka (is he still here?). The midfield attacking responsibilities fell to our new number 10 Emile Smith Rowe who looked energised and threatening. Sadly, not everyone joined the bus he was travelling on with at least 7 players underperforming and one very indifferent debut.
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Saka came on to add weight to the right but was unable to make an impression due to the fire blanket approach from Brentford, so before any Arsenal fan bemoans the return of Martin Odegaard, I’d say that we need running repairs to this team rather quickly.
The 22-year-old offers incredibly good vision and great close control that could offer pockets of space for him to unlock. I’m not suggesting for one minute Martin Odegaard alone will be able to make up for the huge collective deficits in a lacklustre and hamstrung Arsenal side, but he adds instant quality, attack-minded creativity and industry that we’ve not seen since the days of Wilshere and Cazorla.
Never mind Bergkamp, if he could get close to either of the duo, the money will have been well spent. What’s your opinion?