October 17, 2021

Odegaard is a magnificent coup for Arsenal, but is he ready for the Premier League? – Wright

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A Gunners legend is hoping that the Real Madrid loanee will compliment Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka in Mikel Arteta’s attack

Ian Wright has described Martin Odegaard’s arrival at Arsenal as a “magnificent coup” for the club, but has questioned whether he is ready for the intensity of the Premier League.

Odegaard joined Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season on Wednesday, with Arsenal handing the talented young winger the highly coveted No.11 shirt previously worn by Mesut Ozil and Robin van Persie.

The Norway international could be in line to make his debut for the Gunners when they play host to Manchester United in a heavyweight Premier League clash on Saturday, but Mikel Arteta may yet decide to gradually integrate him into the fold due to the fact he has not played regularly so far this season.

Odegaard requested a move away from Santiago Bernabeu this month after being restricted to just nine appearances for Madrid, who have loaned him out on several occasions since snapping him up from Stromsgodset back in 2015.

The 22-year-old took in spells at Heerenveen and Vitesse before spending the 2019-20 campaign at Real Sociedad, where he managed to record seven goals and nine assists from 36 outings across all competitions.

Odegaard proved he can be the difference-maker in the final third during his time at the Anoeta, and Arsenal supporters will hope he can provide the same creative spark for Arteta’s side over the next six months.

Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka have shouldered that burden in recent weeks, with Wright glad to see the Gunners bring in another high-quality attacker as they bid to secure a top-six finish come May.

The Arsenal legend is not 100 per cent sure that Odegaard will adjust to the demands of English football, though, as he said on his Wrighty’s House podcast: “With Odegaard, he’s the player we need. We need that guy to back up Emile Smith Rowe.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t make Emile feel like, ‘oh no, I’m just getting my motor revved up and this is happening’.

“You have to always think the club is getting ready to replace you. I played every week thinking Arsenal are going to bring someone else in, you have to play like that because it will drive you on in training.

“You have to say with his journey at Real Madrid and the loan spells, if he can come across and start to play to his potential in the Premier League, then Real Madrid have really hit the jackpot with the move to Arsenal.

“All of a sudden all of that promise becomes a £40m player, bang. For Arsenal, they want that creativity from Odegaard, Smith Rowe and Saka.

“I think it’s a magnificent coup, it’s exactly what we need. I’m looking at Kai Havertz, you see [Mesut] Ozil is moving on, he [Odegaard] seems to have the same physique as those guys.

“What I’ve seen of him, he’s left-foot looks really good. The only question is: is he ready for us, is he ready for the Premier League?”