Three ways Martin Odegaard can boost Mikel Arteta's Arsenal

Ciaran McLoughlin analyses Arsenal's new loan signing Martin Odegaard

Three ways Martin Odegaard can boost Mikel Arteta's Arsenal

Arsenal fans should be excited about new signing Martin Odegaard, as we move from Ö to Ø

The Gunners welcomed a new signing on Wednesday, in the form of Real Madrid midfielder Martin Ødegaard on an initial loan deal until the summer.

But who is this bright young prospect and what can he offer to Mikel Arteta’s side?

Here's Ciaran McLoughlin's in-depth analysis as he highights three ways in which the new Arsenal star can boost the Gunners. 

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Ødegaard has had quite a stop start career, since leaving his native Norway to join European Giants Real Madrid back in 2015, at the young age of 16, such was his raw talent that they were willing to take a chance on him and beat some of the top names around Europe to his signature.

In order to get minutes under his belt, he was sent out on three successive loan spells at Heerenveen, Vitesse and his most stand out at Real Sociedad.

He returned to Real and has been unlucky with injuries and a lack of chances to play, behind the veteran Luka Modric, who even at 35 is still everything of a top midfield player.

This has pushed Ødegaard’s desire to find another club to give him a chance, which has turned out to be Arsenal.

1) Odegaard offers an exptra option in midfield

Arsenal’s creative flair at the start of the season was next to nothing with no natural No.10 at their disposal.

Emile Smith-Rowe was brought into the side and made an instant impact scoring two goals and five assists in ten appearances so far in all competitions.

However, at only 20 years old, it is far too much to ask of him if Arteta were to keep starting him, especially with the compact period of fixtures coming up.

This is part of the reason why an attacking midfielder was required to help support him, even if fans were possibly expecting more of an experienced individual.

Despite Ødegaard being only two years older than Smith-Rowe, he still offers the Gunners that extra option in midfield, as well as a talented player who can play the quick attacking football which Arteta has been attempting to reinstall into the side.

His natural position is as a No10, but he can also adapt to play on either wing, if needed, but with his energetic nature, he can play slightly deeper in a role similar to what Aaron Ramsey would play in, in the centre of the park.

His loan three loan spells were all very positive, but the one which reminded the world just how good he is, was last season with Real Sociedad, helping them to a Europa League place in La Liga.

2) Odegaard can make the difference to Arsenal's attack

Ødegaard’s overall record in all competitions for the season was seven goals and nine assists, a decent turn out and a good emphasis of his all-round capabilities as a midfielder, but it is only when you look at the detailed stats which really sum up how good he was last season.

An analysis system known as Smarterscout gives an overall rating for players out of 99 for a variety of areas and the numbers that Ødegaard produced across the board, were nothing short of impressive.

He can certainly offer the difference in attack, while not only creating loads of chances, but he also has the ability and most importantly the confidence to take the ball and attack at the opposition himself with a 95/99 rating for carry and dribble volume, something Arsenal have lacked in a player since the likes of Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla.

He also has an 88/99 rating for ball progression, highlighting that he is often the individual who starts the attacks, meaning he isn’t limited to staying in the advanced No10 position.

3) Odegaard works hard defensively and will buy into Arteta's high pressing game

In many ways his ability to find a pass and create chances for the forward players, not to mention the fact he is coming for Real Madrid means comparisons to a certain Mesut Özil are inevitable.

However, the common criticism of Özil regarding lack of effort, is something which can definitely not be said of Ødegaard. His defensive numbers on this same analysis system show he has a defending impact of 89/99.

This underlines in many ways how important Ødegaard is across the pitch and this contribution to defend will allow the Gunners to build up attacks in a much deeper position, while also having a player who will buy into Arteta’s high press philosophy which worked so well against Southampton in the league, causing them to lose the ball and make mistakes.

Stats of course aren’t everything, but simply watching him play will help people to understand how much ability he possesses and the overall contribution he can make in North London.

Verdict: If he can stay fit he will be a vital addition to The Arsenal 

The main concern with him however, which has held back his career in the Spanish capital, has been fitness, with a number of injuries, but if he can stay fit, he can make a real difference wherever he plays.

The Manchester United game will offer fans insight into how Arteta will use the Norwegian International, but one thing is for sure, if he can regain his confidence seen in Sociedad as well as maintain his fitness, Ødegaard can make a real impression at Arsenal and depending on a variety of circumstances, could see him stay beyond this summer and possibly for years to come.

But for now, Arsenal fans should be excited about their new signing, as we move from Ö to Ø.

Follow Ciaran on Twitter 

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