Signing for Real Madrid when you are just a teenager is certainly a bold, ambitious move. For a young talent like Martin Ødegaard, though, there was enough interest across the board to make it a move worth attempting. However, having barely made an impact at the club since he came back from a fruitful loan spell with Real Sociedad, it looks likely that Ødegaard will be moving on from Madrid – again on loan, with the aim of a permanent move in the summer of 2021.
The most likely destination being mooted is that of Arsenal. Despite being interested in a return to San Sebastian with Sociedad, it is believed that the Gunners are the closest to securing the deal. Given how they helped to restore the form of Dani Ceballos (albeit temporarily), the hope will be that Arsenal can do the same thing again with another one of Madrid’s hot young prospects.
At 22, Ødegaard has all the time in the world to find his form again. Playing for an Arsenal side that is short on creative spark but with plenty of attacking talent, then, should offer the ideal opportunity for him to turn things around. Arsenal are seen as the front-runner to go and complete the deal, and could be seen as the ideal stopping point for a Norwegian international who once nearly signed for Liverpool.
Is Ødegaard right to move to England in the short-term?
Though the Premier League has a long and proud history of Scandinavian success stories, the arrival of a diminutive playmaker into the most aggressive league in the world seems strange. Ødegaard has long stood out as a player of immense reputational talent, but he isn’t one that is known for being incredibly strong. As such, he might struggle to get into a physically dominant midfield, and may struggle to settle.
While he will also speak English, Ødegaard has rarely, if ever, played in a style like the one that Arteta employs. As such, this feels like a risky move for all parties. For Arsenal, it could be another ill-thought January loan move that both ruins the chance to improve the squad and to give the player the gametime they need. For Ødegaard, another failed loan spell would mean being right back to where he was pre-Sociedad. Can the talent really afford to risk another setback?
As such, there is a lot of talk that Madrid might look to dictate the loan location at the last minute. Although Arsenal are believed to offer a more rewarding package for Madrid today, another failed loan would see Ødegaard struggle to bring his value back to where it should be.
The benefit of making more money on the loan agreement with Arsenal, could potentially be more than out-done, if the player’s market value should decrease as a consequence of not settling in the new club.
Sending him back to Sociedad, where he was such a key asset and played every game, could potentially be the best option for all involved, even if his situation in Real Sociedad would be changed by the fact that they brought in David Silva from Manchester City during the summer transfer window.