Martin Odegaard has admitted that he rejected Arsenal previously before making a U-turn, while also explaining the reason he chose to join the Gunners.
THE LOWDOWN: INFLUENTIAL SKIPPER
Odegaard has taken his performances in the Arsenal shirt to another level this season. The Norwegian signed for the Gunners on loan in January 2021 and he went on to make the move permanent in the following summer window.
He was named skipper this term by Mikel Arteta and the 24-year-old has been leading by example in the Gunners’ rise to the top of the Premier League log, scoring eight goals and assisting six times so far this season.
Odegaard has become one of the Gunners’ most important players under the Spaniard and has now revealed that he once turned the North London side down.
THE LATEST: ODEGAARD’S REVELATION
Odegaard was already a star in the making in his teenage years and at 16, he eventually signed for Real Madrid, where he would remain until he made the move to north London two years ago.
And in his interview with the Players’ Tribune, the Arsenal talisman has revealed he held face-to-face meetings with then-boss Arsene Wenger over a potential move in 2015.
“My dad handled everything with the clubs, and there were a lot. We went to Bayern [Munich], [Borussia] Dortmund, Man Utd, Liverpool, [Real] Madrid, Arsenal too. We got flown around in private planes and made to feel special,” he explained.
“I’m not just saying this… I was actually close to choosing Arsenal. When we went there, I got to train at London Colney. I met Arsene Wenger. He took me and Dad out for dinner.”
Odegaard added: “So, why Real Madrid then? I talked about it a lot with my dad and the rest of my family. In the end, Madrid is Madrid. They were the Champions League holders with the best players in the world.
“But the really key thing about Madrid’s offer was that they had a B team where I could play competitive football immediately. And the manager of that team? Zinedine Zidane. It felt like the total package.”
THE VERDICT: LONDON IS HOME
Madrid did not particularly go according to plan for Odegaard but that can’t be said of Arsenal. He has found Emirates his home and his performances for the club have continued to improve under Arteta.
Regardless of what has happened in the past, the present looks great and the future at Arsenal looks bright for the Norway captain.