Martin Odegaard has been officially named as Arsenal‘s new captain and the Norwegian is looking forward to his new role at the club.
THE LOWDOWN: THE CAPTAINCY JOURNEY
Granit Xhaka was named Arsenal captain by then-manager Unai Emery after erstwhile captain Laurent Koscielny left the club in the summer of 2019. Meanwhile, Xhaka’s time barely lasted five months following a row with the fans, and was removed from the role.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took over from the Swiss midfielder in November and he was the team’s skipper until his departure to Barcelona in January. Strike partner Alexander Lacazette wore the armband more than other members of the squad for the remainder of last season after the exit of the Gabonese striker.
However, both Lacazette and Aubameyang are no longer part of the squad, so it became imperative for manager Mikel Arteta to name a permanent captain for his squad ahead of a defining campaign and Martin Odegaard has emerged as the candidate.
Since joining Arsenal permanently last summer, the Norwegian has become a key player for Mikel Arteta, justifying the €40m fee that the Gunners paid Real Madrid for his services. On the pitch, he showed his worth with a number of captivating displays. Off the pitch, he has been able to form sound chemistry with the other youngsters like Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith-Rowe.
As a matter of fact, towards the end of last season, Odegaard wore the captain’s armband on a number of occasions alongside Xhaka, Kieran Tierney and the likes. Weeks ago, there were rumors he could be named Arsenal’s captain and those reports have now proven to be accurate.
THE LATEST: PROUD MOMENT
The official announcement that the Norwegian would take the armband on a permanent basis came on Saturday morning, and just a few hours later he was lifting the Emirates Cup after a thumping 6-0 win over Sevilla.
In his words after the game, the midfielder said he was excited to be named skipper of the side and hopes to lead the side to more success.
“Yeah, not a bad start! So that’s good. Of course it’s a big moment for me and I’m very proud to be captain of this fantastic football club. Yeah, a big day for me.”
“Of course I was happy, proud and grateful for the trust and for him wanting me to be the captain. That’s a big achievement for me and it’s nice to be part of such a good team, so I’m going to enjoy that.”
Speaking about other leaders in the squad, he added: “Yeah of course it’s important that we all take leadership, it’s not just about me or a few people but I think everyone needs to take the leadership and do what’s best for the team, so everyone has to do that.”
Odegaard becomes the 13th permanent Arsenal captain of the Premier League era, following legends like Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas as well as current Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta who captained the club for two years after joining from Everton.
THE VERDICT: PERFECT FIT
Odegaard, who is also the captain of the Norway national team, definitely knows what it is to lead a team. In addition, the 23-year-old has already been hailed for his leadership abilities and his influence at the club even before his appointment on a permanent basis. He has a future at the club and could lead the Gunners for many years to come.