Arsenal FC ended last season as officially the worst they have ever been in the EPL finishing 8th for the second time running, and this led to them being out of Europe and European football. Besides losing out on the financial gains of participating in such an illustrous competition, the emotional trauma the fans have had to suffer was clearly evident as they took to social media to trend hash tags #ArtetaOut and #KronekeOut to pass across their message to the board and owners.
With that been done, it appeared the transfer window will be a perfect way to prove to the fans that the club still has lofty ambitions of getting back to the top with the quality of players to be signed, especially in key areas where they were lacking quality.
For a start, when the transfer window opened, those hopes seemed to be fulfilled with the first statement signing of English man, Ben White, for a whopping sum of fifty million pounds. It appeared the board was ready to spend big, just like their competitors have been doing, and buy proven talent either from domestic rivals or from abroad.
Then the name Martin Odegaard popped up again and the debate started all over again. A section of the Arsenal fans expressed concerns over signing him on a permanent basis from Spanish giants Real Madrid. The 22 year old Norwegian who is also the captain of his national team had just recently concluded his first stint at Arsenal last season on a six month loan deal. His modest contribution of two goals in twenty appearances apparently was more than enough to convince under pressure manager Mikel Arteta to prioritize him as the number one player to solve his team’s midfield headache in the long term, considering his age and potential for more growth and development.
But who is Martin Odegaard?
He rose to the limelight at just age sixteen when his display for his local side in Norway caught the attention of the top teams in Europe. There is no doubting his talent as he became the toast of the best and richest teams even the Arsenal. He eventually chose Real Madrid with the hope of growing and developing his talent to conquer the world under the watchful eyes of the staff at the Spanish capital. However, it hasn’t really gone as planned.
At age twenty-two, he has accumulated just eleven league starts for Real Madrid and has gone out on loan multiple times, the last being at Arsenal. It is hoped that a permanent move to Arsenal will give him the much needed stability to establish himself and fulfill the potentials he so clearly has in abundance.
Arsenal were earlier fraternizing with other creative midfielders like James Madisson of league rivals Leicester City, but it was obvious that the moment Odegaard became available, he automatically became their main target.
Other sections of the fans wanted an EPL proven star who would not need any adjusting or time to adapt to the demands of the league, and Madisson fits that profile perfectly. However, with his valuation by Leicester rumored to be in the region of seventy million pounds, plus his present employer’s unwillingness to sell since he still has three more years left on his contract, the odds were clearly stacked against the deal happening even though his camp were open to the idea of a move to the Emirates.
The present and future of the Arsenal is evidently in the hands of the youth as they have assembled a group of young extremely talented players like Bukaya Saka, Emile Smith Row, Odegaard and Thomas Partey. Whether this present set of players can deliver the goods and return the glory days of European football, what the fans so eagerly want to see is just a matter of time.
For now, Arsenal fans should pray that the second coming of Odegaard will bring far better memories than his first spell.