Sunday, December 5

Odegaard sold to Arsenal | sports

Odegaard and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta last season.
Odegaard and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta last season.

Martin Odegaard’s story at Real Madrid ended this time without practically starting. The 22-year-old Norwegian leaves permanently transferred to Arsenal, as both clubs announced this Friday, for about 35 million euros. He already played on loan in the gunners half of last season and there he returns in an operation where all the pieces fit together: the player was not convinced to continue at the Bernabéu because no one could guarantee the minutes to which he aspired; the London outfit happily gives him that status; and in the Valdebebas offices, which returned the footballer for the second consecutive summer, they are in collection mode to alleviate the effects of the pandemic and, at this point, they did not see the sale bad. A month ago, they already entered 40 million for Varane and three for the renewal of Brahim’s loan to Milan while the transfer expense box remains at zero for the second season in a row.

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The landing of this offensive midfielder in the winter market of 2015, in exchange for 2.8 million, received the highest attention that a 16-year-old could have, sought by the main entities in Europe and who landed in Valdebebas after a meticulous election process carried out with his father. He was presented by Emilio Butragueño in the press room of the merengue stadium and, although he started playing for Castilla de Zidane, he frequently went up to train with the first team. He was, in fact, the youngest to debut with the large: with 16 years and 157 days, on the last day of 2014/15, precisely with Carlo Ancelotti on the bench and replacing Cristiano Ronaldo. A photo with a symbolic charge: the megastar and a bet for the future of the club.

However, six years later, Odegaard’s entire career at Real Madrid can be summed up in 11 games, zero goals and zero assists. His good performances on loan at Vitesse, Real Sociedad and Arsenal made him an important asset to cover the central plot in the next few years, where Modric (safe this Sunday against Levante due to adductor problems) is a few days away. turning 36 and a declining Isco only has one contract campaign left. It was recovered in the last two summers to rejuvenate that area and prepare for the transfer of powers, but the sports operation never caught on. Yes the financial one: it arrived for 2.8 and it leaves for 35.

Last season he asked to leave in January frustrated by the lack of minutes with Zidane and, in this, things were not clear to him from almost the beginning of the preseason. He expected a participation that nobody in Madrid could guarantee him. “I have told him that there are eight players in his position,” Ancelotti revealed last Friday, in the preview of the league premiere against Alavés, for which the Norwegian was not registered. A piece of information that made it clear that the sale was imminent.

If in his previous march the eyes fell more on Zizou due to the declared skepticism of the French coach with the young litter, now the spotlights also point to the footballer’s impatience to guarantee himself a place. The need for cash in the white hacienda he has done the rest.

In the previous campaign, ZZ recruited him prematurely from Real Sociedad (he had another loan course) after his good performance (seven goals and nine assists in 36 games), but the balloon was soon punctured. After starting the first two duels (Anoeta and Villamarín), between the player’s physical problems and the Frenchman’s close bet on the successful trio (Casemiro-Kroos-Modric), his participation was reduced to a handful of appearances (367 minutes ). And, when the midfield needed troops in the final stretch due to fatigue and injuries, Odegaard was already in London and the team had to pull homegrown players (Antonio Blanco) and fallen (Isco).

Now, there was not even time to test the player’s performance and Ancelotti’s plans with him. His ambition to have a leading role, something complex without a previous career in the first team, and the club’s priority to put money in the box have paved his departure. He goes to the English capital where they assure him what he expected from Madrid. Since January, Mikel Arteta has given him a leading role at Arsenal: 1,290 minutes in 22 games (14 starters), in which he scored one goal and two assists. The aspirations in the Emirates, yes, are more modest from the outset. The gunners They did not qualify last year or for the third European competition, the new Conference League.

In the absence of a dozen days before the market closes, Madrid’s initial plan in the middle is to continue pulling what it already had (Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Valverde and Isco) plus the shovels of the young Blanco and, perhaps , Dani Ceballos, on loan the last two seasons also at Arsenal. The injury with which he came from the Games plus Odegaard’s goodbye can open the door to the Bernabéu again.

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