Norway international Martin Odegaard made 20 appearances for Arsenal during the second half of last season; Odegaard joins for an initial £30m plus bonuses; watch Arsenal vs Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 4pm
Tuesday 24 August 2021 07:17, UK
Arsenal have completed the signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on a permanent deal.
The Norway international, who joins for an initial £30m plus bonuses worth around £4m, was in London on Wednesday undergoing a medical after the two clubs reached an agreement.
The 22-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan with the Gunners after failing to break into the Real Madrid team under Zinedine Zidane, and now returns to the Emirates Stadium on a five-year deal.
He made 20 appearances across all competitions, with one of his two goals coming in the north London derby win over Tottenham in March.
Odegaard - who will wear the No 8 shirt - will be unavailable for Arsenal's Premier League clash with London rivals Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Asked what the 22-year-old will add to his squad, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: "A lot of things that he brought last season. He made us better, we needed more options and alternatives for creativity.
"He is still a really young man but he has huge experiences in clubs already and has unique talents for the way we want to play so I am really pleased the club have made the effort."
Odegaard made his professional debut for Norwegian side Stromsgodset in 2014 as a 15-year-old.
He moved to Real Madrid in 2015 and went on to become their youngest ever player, while he also achieved the same feat for Norway.
However, he struggled for first-team football at Real and was sent on loan to Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad before joining Arsenal.
In six years at the Bernabeu, Odegaard made just 11 appearances for Real Madrid's first team, and he was not part of new manager Carlo Ancelotti's plans this season.
Arsenal are also close to completing a £24m deal for Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, with Arteta saying: "There is still some paperwork but his medical is done, still a few things to sort with Sheffield."
The fee for the 23-year-old could rise by another £6m in add-ons depending on whether he becomes the Gunners' long-term No 1.
Ramsdale has been on boss Mikel Arteta's radar this summer, having originally joined Sheffield United from Bournemouth in 2020.
The Cherries are entitled to a 15-per-cent sell-on fee of anything over £19m.
Ramsdale's arrival at the Emirates would likely see back-up goalkeeper Alex Runarsson allowed to leave the club.
Ramsdale, capped at U18 to U21 level by England, re-joined Sheffield United last summer in an £18.5m deal from relegated Bournemouth.
He was Sheffield United's player of the season despite their relegation last term and the same was the case in his final season at Bournemouth in 2019/20.
Ramsdale was part of England's Euro 2020 squad which reached the final, but is yet to make his full international debut.
Paul Merson criticised Arsenal's recruitment under technical director Edu in his latest column after their season got off to the worst possible start on Friday Night Football with a 2-0 loss at Premier League new boys Brentford.
"It's worrying at Arsenal. You're still thinking: 'Where are they going?'
"Edu has come in, and the recruitment has been lazy, if I'm being honest. It's been: 'Oh, we'll take Willian on a free… we'll take David Luiz for cheap.'
"I remember years ago in football, managers were judged on signings. Sometimes I think Arteta is left behind, and I'm not sure how much of a say he has got in all of this.
"Why would you let Joe Willock go? I'm not saying he's the answer, but he's come through the club and is going for £25m, that sort of money isn't going to change Arsenal. It's not like a Harry Kane or Jack Grealish sale where you get £100m and can rebuild the team.
"But Arsenal are prepared to pay Willian big money. Where is the future in that? It's quick fixes. Surely Willock is a future player and for the present, and can be involved in the plan.
"Jonny Evans is a good example. I was calling for Arsenal to sign him when he left West Brom - a very good player, who was at Man Utd at the wrong time. He would have been a success. But it felt like Arsenal didn't sign him because he played for West Brom. 'How can Arsenal be signing players from West Brom?'
"My question to Edu would be: 'What's the plan?'"
Sky Sports' Adam Smith speaking on the Essential Football Podcast
"A lot of people think Odegaard didn't make much of an impact for Arsenal last season, but he only played 866 minutes in the Premier League. So, judging his per-90 stats is a good way to assess his impact for assists, which was 0.21 per game. That's not great for your number 10 - it ranks behind Willian, Emile Smith Rowe, even Calum Chambers.
"But, if you look at expected assists, he's only behind Gabriel Martinelli. On the flip side of that, there is more improvement there and we've seen plenty of clips of him doing the stuff elsewhere. So, I think there's that capability and talent to improve. Also, he ranked top for chances created and passes in the final third per 90 - which bodes well.
"So, factoring all of that, he probably is the man for creativity and he is only 22. You've got Ben White coming in, Aaron Ramsdale in goal - yes, it's a dubious amount of money - but you can see a trend. Instead of plugging gaps, like signing David Luiz and extending Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's contract or bringing in Willian, you're now looking at that clear draft of players around the 21 or 22 age bracket, such as Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares, too. It's basically rebuilding with a hard reset.
"Arsenal are probably also looking at the growing trend to press from the front and running. We see that style developing in the league and, again, Odegaard ranks really highly in those metrics - but not for sprints, which isn't his game. He ranks top for distance covered and second for recoveries in the final third per 90. Arsenal are definitely looking to the future."
After a blockbuster opening weekend of the Premier League we're gearing up to go again, with Arsenal vs Chelsea a headline fixture and set to feature the Blues' new striker Romelu Lukaku. Peter Smith is joined by Gerard Brand, Adam Smith, Nick Wright, and Ron Walker to look ahead to another big round of games...
PART 1: Will Romelu Lukaku fire Chelsea to a Premier League title challenge? And are Arsenal really in crisis? We assess both sides who go into a London derby in contrasting moods.
PART 2: Paul Pogba starred in Man Utd's win over Leeds with four assists - so how does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keep getting performances like that out of him? And with Raphael Varane primed for his debut, do Man Utd now have all the pieces in place to become champions?
PART 3: Watford returned to the Premier League in style with a 3-2 win over Aston Villa on the opening weekend. We tell the story behind some of their new signings and examine their prospects this term. Plus we hear how a drive down the M6 was transformative for Brighton defender Shane Duffy…
You can follow all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms, as well as keeping track of all the developments on Sky Sports News.