Does the arrival of new midfielder Martin Odegaard during this winter transfer window have implications for Arsenal’s young hopefuls including Emile Smith Rowe? Will ESR get less playing time after seizing his opportunities and exerting such influence on a flat, tired, and creative-less Arsenal side along with the likes of Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka, and Gabriel?
Well, it’s a concern that has been voiced by several Arsenal fans that are desperate for the Croydon De Bruyne to assume the mantle and role of Arsenal’s full-time number 10, but Odegaard’s arrival could be helpful to the ambitions for the homegrown youngster.
There are a lot of games left in the season at this point and ESR can’t play them all as Arsenal try to improve on their position in the Premier League whilst also competing in the Europa League. Although Smith Rowe is young and wants to play, common sense dictates the need to rest him where possible to preserve his form and confidence and Odegaard should help Arteta achieve his aim of protecting his creative gem.
Ceballos has not become a dominant force for the Gunners in either attack or defence and both Xhaka and Elneny aren’t going to dictate play or win games. As a result, there is a huge burden of expectations on the youngster’s shoulders and now that Ozil has gone, many are looking at ESR to make the role his own. However, Arsenal’s fickle fans can turn on players after a loss of form and although it is a remote possibility, he could be subjected to harsh criticism if he isn’t influential or is perceived to have a poor game.
Martin Odegaard joining on loan from Real Madrid for 6 months will allow Smith Rowe to develop at a sensible pace, not one driven by necessity or desperation and we should note at this point if that the young Norwegian (22) is capable of exploding in the Premier League. I’m not in favour of the loan move, but I understand it and support it if ESR is given a key role next season.
So What Does Odegaard Bring To Arsenal?
He’s good in possession, has great vision and balance, and will drive forward by instigating play and supporting the move. He can also put in a timely tackle and will work as hard out of possession as he does in.
He can strike a free-kick, something which Arsenal have lacked when in key areas, even though they have Willian and Pepe who have both proved to be inconsistent. He could also link up well with Partey as an alternative number 10 by feeding Aubameyang and Lacazette or pushing it out to the flanks.
My opinion is that Arteta knows that he has the future of the club at his fingertips but it’s his immediate needs that he has to serve first and Odegaard and Smith Rowe could yet have an impact over the remainder of Arsenals season together or separately.