The major talking point at the Emirates throughout the summer of course surrounded the club’s chase of reinforcements in the middle of the park.
Over the course of the window, a whole host of midfield stars were linked with a move to north London.
Chief among these, over lengthy stretches, were Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and Atletico Madrid standout Thomas Partey.
In the end, having proven frustrated in their pursuit of the former, Arsenal opted to bring in Ghanaian international Partey, to add some much-needed presence to Mikel Arteta’s midfield ranks.
And the 27-year-old certainly didn’t taken long in making his presence felt, bagging Man of the Match honours in his full Gunners debut versus Rapid Wien, before driving his new side to a long overdue win at Old Trafford in November.
Szoboszlai heads elsewhere
Whilst Partey, long-term, will no doubt go on to prove a superb piece of business for Arsenal, however, the club’s midfield puzzle remains far from complete.
Recent months (prior to a recent upturn in form) have seen the lack of a creative spark at Mikel Arteta’s disposal widely highlighted, with a midfielder capable of both setting up teammates and finding the back of the net himself expected to be next on the Gunners’ wishlist.
This of course comes with Mesut Ozil having long been frozen out in north London.
The player most persistently tipped to fill this role ahead of the opening of the winter window came in the form of Red Bull Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai.
This was, however, until confirmation was forthcoming late last month that the Hungarian had opted to join RB Leipzig:
The 20-year-old signs a contract until June 2025 and will wear the number 17 shirt ✍️ pic.twitter.com/tUakiN8zul
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) December 17, 2020
Neither Szoboszlai’s decision to head to Germany, nor the burst onto the scene of Emile Smith Rowe of late, however, are expected to bring an end to Arsenal’s pursuit of fresh blood in midfield.
The last 24 hours, though, have seen yet another, and perhaps more realistic name peddled as a potential winter addition to Arteta’s midfield ranks.
The player in question? Martin Odegaard.
Norwegian creator Odegaard was of course once viewed as the next up and coming star of European football.
Since returning to parent club Real Madrid on the back of an impressive loan stint with La Liga rivals Real Sociedad last season, however, the 22-year-old has majorly struggled for game-time.
In fact, to this point in the Spanish top-flight campaign, Odegaard has been afforded a paltry 3 starts.
As such, it has come as little surprise to see speculation begin to crop back up that the midfield talent could be farmed out on another loan for the 2nd half of the season.
The landing spot most persistently touted, in turn, have understandably been Sociedad, where Odegaard shone so brightly less than 12 months ago, and could continue his development in a comfortable surrounding.
Another, though, have been Arsenal.
And, after speculation linking the Gunners with a swoop for the Blancos outcast first began to mount on Wednesday, a further update on the situation has since been forthcoming today.
As per transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, though Sociedad remain the frontrunners, Odegaard is in fact ‘tempted’ by the idea of a move to the Emirates.
Spanish outlet Sport, on the other hand, have gone as far as to claim that the Norwegian international is now ‘very close’ to joining Arsenal.
Martin Ødegaard is ‘tempted’ by Arsenal loan bid, he’s gonna decide together with his family.
Real Sociedad are in advanced talks to sign him by one week [leading the race over Ajax], always been Martin’s priority by months. #AFC offer led him to take hours/days of reflection.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 21, 2021
One group who certainly appear to be in favour of Odegaard swapping Madrid for north London, meanwhile, are the Gunners faithful.
As revealed on social media this evening, bizarrely, a number of members of the Arsenal fanbase have reached out to the 22-year-old’s father, to urge him to push his son towards the Premier League.
Even more remarkable, is the fact that Hans Odegaard actually opted to reply:
Odegaard’s dad on WhatsApp to me lmao pic.twitter.com/AyPF8y48iH
— TikiTakaConnor (@TikiTakaConnor) January 21, 2021
Others to have contact Odegaard sr. (who claim to have found his number through the Norwegian Yellow Pages) have since deleted their Tweets amid backlash from fellow fans.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||9|
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