There’s been a lot of excitement in North London over the arrival of Real Madrid youngster Martin Ødegaard at Arsenal on a loan deal. Fans of the Gunners took to the streets to put crosses through the Os on various street signs, and excited supporters took to Twitter to express their happiness of seeing an intriguing and talented young footballer arrive at the Emirates Stadium.
The arrival of Ødegaard comes at a time when Arsenal have rediscovered some much-needed form and are now a more trustworthy pick in the bet exchange. After struggling to buy a win earlier in the campaign, Mikel Arteta’s men have won five of their last six Premier League matches, and although they suffered defeat to Southampton in the FA Cup, they exacted revenge days later by recording 3-1 victory over the Saints in the league.
Ødegaard will be stepping into a club that has a feel-good factor once again, and that is exactly the kind of environment a young player needs if he is going to make a serious impact. Of course, the excitement surrounding Ødegaard’s arrival must be tempered with realism. The Norwegian is still young and is yet to make a significant impact at Real Madrid. A series of loan moves over the last few seasons have seen him perform well, and his talent is clear. While he hasn’t quite lived up to his lofty potential just yet, perhaps all it takes is the right loan move to really get him firing on all cylinders.
Signing for Real Madrid at the age of 16 would heap pressure on the shoulders of any player to succeed, and Ødegaard has had to deal with the immense scrutiny that has followed the move, in his native Norway and indeed across Europe as a whole. He has made just a handful of senior team appearances for the Spanish giants, but the fact that he is consistently being loaned out rather than sold suggests the powers-that-be at Real Madrid still have faith in Ødegaard to come good.
From Arsenal’s point of view, perhaps this is exactly the kind of addition they need. So often this season, before their recent upturn in form, Arsenal’s performances have been stodgy and insipid, defined by a lack of flair and imagination. What Ødegaard brings is a sense of excitement – a step into the unknown – and Arteta will be hoping that adding this youthful dimension to his team will inspire the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to rediscover their best form.
It’s the kind of signing that also brings excitement for the fans. After all, Ødegaard is a relatively unknown quantity. While he is now 22 years of age, he is yet to really make a huge impact in his career thus far. But perhaps his flair and talents will be suited to the Premier League, and in Arteta he has a coach who values technical attributes and that relationship should help him develop as a player.
If the Norwegian can hit the ground running and wriggle his way into the first team, then Arsenal’s good form may well continue. At the time of writing, they sit ninth in the Premier League table, are looking further up with every passing victory – a far cry from the early stages of the season where a bottom-half scrap seemed to be on the cards. Arteta has found a winning formula at last, and he’ll be hoping that the signing of Ødegaard can be another ingredient which brings Arsenal success.