Arsenal have completed the loan signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.
Odegaard opted to join the Gunners after being convinced by Mikel Arteta and the plans the Spanish manager has for the north London club.
On the conversation between the pair, Odegaard told the club’s official website: “I spoke to him before coming here, of course.
“That was very important for me and he seems like a top manager and I liked his ideas, the way he sees football and also the way he is.”
He continued: “In Norway, the Premier League is really big. We always watched all the games. It’s always been a dream to play in the Premier League and I always liked the way Arsenal played.
“So it’s a dream come true in many ways. [Cesc] Fabregas, for me, was one of my idols when I grew up.”
This isn’t Odegaard’s first time at Arsenal, as the youngster previously spent a period training with the club when he was just 15.
Questioned about that chapter, he said: “Yeah I was here. I visited the club and trained a little bit. I had a chat with the club and had a really good feeling when I was here.
“I was thinking a lot about it. In the end it wasn’t my decision at that time, but I had a really good time and I remember it well.
“When I was here the first time I had a good feeling and every time I heard about the club, I had a good feeling.
“Now I’m here, so I think maybe it’s meant to be.”
The 22-year-old spent last season on loan with Real Sociedad but opted to switch to the Premier League instead of returning for another temporary stay at Anoeta.
He becomes the second Los Blancos player currently on loan at the Emirates, joining Dani Ceballos in Arteta’s ranks.
“It’s great that we’ve secured Martin to come to us until the end of the season,” the Arsenal boss said.
“Martin is of course a player that we all know very well and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while.
“Martin will provide us with quality offensive options and we’re all excited to be integrating him into our plans between now and May.”
“We are delighted to welcome Martin to the club until the end of the season,” Arsenal’s technical director Edu added.
“I would like to thank everyone at Real Madrid and Martin’s representatives for their collaboration in making this loan move happen.
“Martin is an exceptional talent and we are strengthening our squad by introducing an exciting offensive player to the club for the remaining months of this season.”
Odegaard joined the LaLiga giants to much hype as a 16-year-old and was even touted as the ‘Norwegian Messi’.
He even earned praise from Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2015 when he gave a glowing reference.
“You see many players with potential. I will mention Martin Odegaard of Madrid for example; at 16 he’s still young but you can see he’s a very good player,” Ronaldo said.
“He’s a great player, I think he’s a young boy, he can still grow.”
Things didn’t quite work out in Madrid for Odegaard, however, and loan spells with Vitesse and La Real followed.
Now he arrives at the Emirates and has been likened to a player who has just left.
Norwegian journalist Pal Gorden Nilson compared Odegaard to Mesut Ozil, who joined Fenerbahce earlier this month upon the termination of his Gunners contract.
“He’s the kind of player like Ozil, he’s a creative midfielder, a No.10 player.
“Perhaps he could give some good passes to [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette.
“He’s creative, talented, but Mikel Arteta needs to get the best out of him to really see the real Martin Odegaard. He’s very talented.
“He made his debut for Norway at 15 years old. He still hasn’t shown his full potential.”
Borussia Dortmund starlet Erling Haaland is confident his fellow countryman can make a big impression in the Premier League.
“It will be interesting. Arsenal is a big club in England. It’s a bit different football, but I think he can fit in well with Mikel Arteta in the No.10 role. He can enjoy himself there.
“He [Odegaard] has to get in there and simply start playing matches. That’s what he needs. We know how good Odegaard can be.
“When he gains confidence with the ball, we know that the most incredible things can happen.”