Arsenal are set to sign Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid as they look to solve their creative problems in midfield.
Things have improved in recent weeks for the Gunners with the emergence of Emile Smith Rowe but another playmaker is arriving to lessen the burden on his young shoulders.
The Norwegian ace has been out on loan for the last three season and even played against parent club Real Madrid last termAFP or licensors
Norwegian star Odegaard is still only 22, despite being on the radar since his emergence seven years ago in his homeland.
He hasn’t managed to break into Zinedine Zidane’s first-team this season, despite a superb loan spell with Real Sociedad in LaLiga last term.
Two previous loan spells in the Eredivisie with Heerenveen and Vitesse Arnhem were also promising for the midfielder, plucked from Stromsgodset aged 16 by Real Madrid.
And now he looks like being given a chance to test his mettle in the Premier League as the Gunners swoop for him until the end of the season.
It’s not the most ideal situation and Arsenal fans may well be a little wary given the contributions the likes of Kim Kallstrom and Denis Suarez had at the Emirates as January loan signings.
Odegaard perhaps has a higher ceiling but, nonetheless, a disrupted season with just five starts and four substitute appearances in Spain might not be the best platform for the youngster.
He was though, tempted to north London despite interest from former club Real Sociedad and Dutch giants Ajax, which shows great hunger and ambition to prove himself.
It was a decision taken by the youngster and his family, while direct contact from Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta appears to have helped persuade them on the move.
It appears Arteta played a key role in persuading OdegaardGetty Images – Getty
Predominantly a left-footer, Odegaard has spent time in multiple positions and roles during his career, including time as a No.8, a No.10, and as a right-forward.
Last term, he was used in the attacking midfield role currently being occupied by Smith Rowe at the Emirates and can thread a fine throughball, as well as playing simple passes.
He’s also extremely aware to the second ball, as he displayed last season for a goal AGAINST Real Madrid for Real Sociedad, drifting to the edge of the penalty area between two centre-backs before slotting home the rebound from an Alexander Isak strike in a shock 4-3 Copa del Rey win.
But where will he fit in if he plays for Arsenal? talkSPORT.com have take a look at the possibilities.
Odegaard was a standout performer for Real Sociedad last seasonGetty Images – Getty
Option 1: 4-2-3-1
RIght now, it’s the formation Arteta is using as the Gunners bounce back from their rocky start to the Premier League campaign.
Alexandre Lacazette and Smith Rowe have held the No.10 position but with this formation it’s likely Odegaard will provide immediate competition to the latter, allowing the former to remain as the club’s central striker.
It’s something the Norwegian did plenty of last term with Real Sociedad where he grabbed four goals and six assists.
When all players are fit and available, we’re likely to see fellow youngster Bukayo Saka on the right, while Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka would sit and screen the backline with full-backs Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin moving into more advanced roles.
Option 2: 4-3-3
Arsenal, could though, utilise Odegaard off the right given the performances of Willian and Nicolas Pepe.
Wonderkid Saka has been very good in this role too, but might also be needed as more forward thinking left-footed central midfielder in this formation, consigning Xhaka to the bench.
The Norway international was used in this role during his time with Vitesse Arnhem back in 2018/19, out in this area of the pitch a more skillful one-on-one performer came to the fore.
Able to take on a marker or drift into the centre and shoot or pass, the overlapping full-back, in the Gunners’ case Bellerin can get into the game more too.
Given Arsenal’s tendency to attack on the left, Odegaard drifting into a No.10 role from the flank is certainly tempting but may only come against teams who sit deeper.
Option 3: 3-4-3
Not a system Odegaard has experienced often but should Arteta return to it, he can operate either centrally or on the right.
With three centre-backs and Thomas Partey alongside him, though, the 22-year-old could be the central creative force for the Gunners.
In the attacking phases he would contribute more than Dani Ceballos, while also being able to temper his displays and not try so many risky passes if the game state needs it.
Currently, though, it’s something we’re unlikely to see very often with the above formations working far better for Arteta right now.
The talkSPORT network will have 20 live football commentaries over the next week, including Southampton vs Arsenal in the FA Cup on Saturday
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