Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Arsene Wenger reveals he ‘fought like mad’ to sign current Arsenal player

Arsene Wenger has disclosed his keen interest in signing a young Martin Odegaard before the midfielder opted for Real Madrid.

The current Arsenal captain was hailed as a prodigy following his debut at 15 for Stromsgodset, drawing attention from top European clubs.

After training sessions with clubs such as Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and Arsenal, Odegaard deliberated on which club would best develop his evident talent.

In the end, the Norwegian international succumbed to the allure of joining Real Madrid to learn from his idol, Zinedine Zidane, leaving Wenger disappointed.

In conversation with one of his former players, Freddie Ljungberg, the former Arsenal boss said: ‘Yes, I remember him (Odegaard) very well.

‘We did fight like mad to get him. I got him in a training session and I remember Steve Morrow brought him into training with is father.

‘He reminded me of Fabregas, good vision, good technical quality, easy with professional players in the first team.

‘You could see something special there but in the end he has chosen to go to Real Madrid.’

Ultimately, Odegaard’s choice to join the Spanish giants backfired as he found himself consistently overlooked by successive managers who were reluctant to offer him regular first-team opportunities.

This led to a series of loan spells, with his breakthrough coming during his time at Real Sociedad. He subsequently joined Arsenal in January 2021, initially on loan.

Under the tutelage of Mikel Arteta, who facilitated the move to make Odegaard’s transfer to north London permanent, the 25-year-old has solidified his status as one of the Premier League’s premier creative midfielders.

Demonstrating his commitment to Arsenal, Odegaard signed a new long-term contract last year, binding him to the club until 2027.

Speaking at the time, Odegaard said: ‘Signing a new contract was a really easy decision for me for lots of reasons.

‘Mainly what we are doing right now as a club is special, and I want to be a part of that. I’m really excited for what’s to come here. I’ve found a place where I can be really settled and call my home.

‘My story is a bit different maybe, as I moved around different clubs since I was 16. At Arsenal, since the first day, I’ve felt great and this is definitely my home now.

‘I just want to say thanks to everyone working at the club and of course, our fantastic supporters. I will continue to give everything to bring success to this club in the years to come.’

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