Arsenal agree Odegaard loan deal

Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard on loan until the end of the season.

Odegaard will undergo a medical in the next 48 hours before completing his temporary move to north London.

The 22-year-old made it clear he wanted to leave this month in order to play regular first-team football, having played just nine times in all competitions for Real Madrid this season.

Real Sociedad were keen on re-signing Odegaard after his season-long loan stint last year, but it is thought Real Madrid’s preference was to send him to a club outside La Liga.

Odegaard registered seven goals and nine assists across 36 appearances on loan at the La Liga side last season, leading Real Madrid to cut short his two-year loan and make him part of their first-team squad.

A number of Premier League clubs were also interested in the Norwegian, including Leicester, although the Foxes opted not to pursue the Norwegian international after preliminary discussions.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 24: New transfer of Fenerbahce, Mesut Ozil (C) attends a training session of his team at Samandira Can Bartu facilities in Istanbul, Turkey on January 24, 2021. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Mesut Ozil trained with his new Fenerbahce team-mates on Sunday after his free transfer from Arsenal was confirmed

The agreement was reached on the same day Mesut Ozil’s departure from the club was confirmed, as the 32-year-old terminated his deal at the Emirates Stadium to join Fenerbahce on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Odegaard is set to become Arsenal’s second signing of the January window, after the club secured the services of Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan on a six-month loan deal.

Mikel Arteta’s side also saw Sokratis Papasthatopoulos leave the club after mutually agreeing to cancel his contract, while Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba have respectively joined Schalke 04 and Nice on loan deals until the end of the season.

What will one-time wonderkid Odegaard bring to the Premier League?

Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:

What will Odegaard bring to the Premier League? Well, hype, hope and a lot of media attention for starters.

The attention of the footballing world was centred on him in 2015 when, a month after his 16th birthday, Real Madrid won the race for his signature – and the interest in the now 22-year-old is set to ignite again.

Already a Norway international when he joined Real, Odegaard – who had drawn excitable comparisons with Lionel Messi – immediately began training with the first team and became the club’s youngest-ever player in the final game of that season.

MArtin Odegaard
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Odegaard signed for Real Madrid as a 16-year-old in 2015

Back then, the anticipation of what Odegaard would become at the Bernabeu knew no bounds – but his progress, perhaps disappointingly for some, has been quieter since, as the gradual progression of a midfield technician has taken shape.

Patience is paying off now, though. After an underwhelming 18-month loan spell at Heerenveen, Odegaard had a standout season at Vitesse in 2018/19, creating more chances than any other player in the Dutch top flight, and finishing third in the assists chart to Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech.

He backed it up with an impressive season at Real Sociedad last year, when he hit double figures for goal contributions, and was recalled to Real Madrid as a result.

While a way into Zinedine Zidane’s line-up has ultimately been hard to find, Arsenal have landed a classy creator, a pass-master and an attacking midfielder with a fine touch and bright awareness of the game.

Odegaard will bring excitement on the pitch as well as off it.

Read the feature in full

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