I kinda did a fair bit of thoughts yesterday on Odegaard, in saying that I’m hoping for that instead of Coutinho, so perhaps yesterday evening was just the football karma gods cutting me a break as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed last night to see that David Ornstein and a couple of Norwegian journos were reporting that a deal appears to have been struck to bring the captain of Norway to The Arsenal. Apparently the hope is that the deal can be done this week and he could even potentially feature in the game against Chelski on Sunday.
If true that is a big boost to us at a time in which the general malaise around the club has been pretty widespread after the lacklustre performance against Brentford, rumours of and Auba/Coutinho swap deal, as well as the prospect of playing Chelski for the first home game of the season with a number of our first team players out. Yep, we’re all feeling a little low right now, it’s fair to say.
So to get the news that Arsenal could be on the verge of a €35million deal for Odegaard is fantastic stuff in my opinion. That’s around £29million and for a player who looked very good at times last season when he was fit, this deal feels like an absolute no brainer. At that price too, it feels even more sensible, despite people pining for Maddison for the last few weeks.
I like Maddison. This he’s a good player who would have definitely improved us. But at £70million it didn’t exactly represent value and if we were a club who had bottomless pockets, then yeah, maybe it could have been something that would have been decent for us. But if you’re getting Odegaard – younger, plenty of upside, already played in the team so we know he’ll fit in – for half (or even less) than you would Maddison, in an era in which all clubs are cash-strapped, then there can be belief that we’re looking to get this done and move on to the other positions that trouble us.
With just under two weeks to go until the transfer window is done, if you do this deal this week and then secure a right back and a ‘keeper next week, then we’re closer to being a better squad that we can get a little more excited about. Providing Arteta can get a tune out of his squad. That will be a big question for him if the deals get done because it will mean he HAS been backed, we HAVE got the players he wants and he now has NO excuses not to have those players deliver at least a spot back in to Europe. It will be all on him to make them tick.
The age profile of the player works well too, because it is another young player with upside that we hope will only improve with age. In addition, it represents an investment that, if Arteta doesn’t work out, the next manager coming in will know exactly what he has to work with and that will be part of the deal if he takes the job. I’m not wishing Arteta’s Arsenal managerial career away, by the way, I’m just acknowledging that it hasn’t been a good start, he’s had a fair bit of time now to show us what he can do, so if he can’t get a tune in the next couple of months then we probably need to look at what else is out there.
The deal itself represents value and when you consider that Newcastle have just paid £25million for Joe Willock, if we get Odegaard for £29million (when you do the conversion from Euro’s to pounds) it represents great business. It also softens the Willock blow. How many people would suggest that Willock is a better player than Odegaard? Not me. Willock hit a purple patch, he was a decent young player, but he’s only a year younger than Odegaard and I think the Norwegian has a much high ceiling than our boy Joe. It’s the style of play too; Willock is not a great distributor of the ball. He is a late arriving and will score goals, which of course we need, but what we need more is vision and passing range in the final third. That’s not Xhaka, as he is a distributor from deep. It’s not Smith Rowe as he is a short passer whose movement creates space, as well as somebody who will dribble with the ball to beat a man. Saka hasn’t been tried centrally in the ten and besides, I don’t think many of us see it as something where he can create the most damage, so Odegaard fills a gap that we need in the team. Just Google some of the YouTube compilation videos of him in an Arsenal shirt last season. It was a varied passing range, some incisive balls, control in possession and playing in between the lines. That’s EXACTLY what we need and I for one will be excited if/when it is confirmed.
There are some people who seem to be a bit down on him, which I don’t really understand, when you think of the situation he was in last season. New league, more physicality, struggling team (I know that’s still the same case!), no adaptation time. If we get this deal over the line he’s already had six months to adapt to Arsenal. If this deal gets done he’s ready from the off and that is a big plus point for me. He will integrate straight in, he will be familiar with his surroundings, but not only that, he’ll also be a guy who will feel valued and loved (Arteta has made it clear he’s his number one target and that will have been a big draw to feel that valued as a player) and with it being a permanent transfer he’ll also know that Arsenal is somewhere that he can at least look to build an immediate future with. No more loans, no more being a ‘what if’ player, he’d be an Arsenal boy and that would be a big confidence booster I’d hope.
There was also talk that we’re back in for Ramsdale, but I don’t really want my excitement over Odegaard this morning, so I’ll not bother going over that today. Let’s hope we get more noises today and hopefully the club can chivvy this deal along so we can at least see him in the ground on Sunday.
Catch you lovely humans tomorrow.