Mikel Arteta has been watching Martin Odegaard for some time and says the midfielder looks “so excited” to be at Arsenal.
The Norwegian agreed terms on his loan move from Real Madrid yesterday and he is expected to bring extra creative spark to the team.
Odegaard has struggled to get going at Madrid, going on loan spells in the Eredivise and La Liga.
However, it is his performance at Real Sociedad that caught the eye of the boss.
Facing the media ahead of Arsenal’s game with Manchester United, Arteta said: “He’s a player that we followed for some time and we believe that he’s got some special qualities that we need, that we have been missing.
“Now we have to give him a little bit of time. He hasn’t played that many minutes in Madrid but he’s been training hard and he looks so excited, as we are, to have another big talent at our club.”
He added: “I think in the last few seasons he’s progressed and developed in the right way. I’ve followed him very closely because he played for Real Sociedad, which is my hometown.
“I know him really well. I’ve been really impressed. He’s a such a talent. He needs the right environment, he needs a little bit of time but I think he’s got the qualities to be a success for us.”
Arteta seems to know the midfielder so well, as he spoke about the different roles he could play.
“He’s a specialist to play in the pockets, to play in the No 8 or 10 positions,” explained the boss.
“He can play off the sides. He’s a really creative player who’s really comfortable on the ball in tight spaces. He has the capacity to create chances and to score goals. Something that he has improved a lot is his work-rate without the ball as well, so it’s another option to give us more creativity for sure in the final third, and give us more options to set up in different ways against certain teams.”
There have been talks on the length of Odegaardvs stay at the club. However, Mikel Arteta only wants to see the midfielder settle down before deciding.
“He certainly has all the qualities and characteristics that we are looking for for that position,” he noted.
“Then it will be down to two things. First of all, how well he adapts here and how much of an impact he can have in our team. Secondly, what Real Madrid and the player think about it because he’s owned by Real Madrid and the player has a big say in that too.”