Analysis of why Arsenal should not keep Martin Odegaard

Why should Arsenal opt against making the loan deal of Arsenal star permanent in the summer

Arsenal cruised past West Bromwich Albion on Sunday evening to keep their slight hopes of finishing in the European places alive. If the Gunners end up finishing seventh, they have a very good chance of securing a berth in the all-new UEFA Conference League.

Although, that is not confirmed because of many reasons. You can find that reason by reading The Athletic article.

Mikel Arteta has already said that the North London outfit need “changes” in the summer. The Spaniard also claimed that the owners are backing him in the upcoming transfer window.

So, the Arsenal fans can brace themselves for an exciting summer. Each and every decision made by the club in the shop window will, no doubt, split the fanbase. While some would want to extend the contract of Alexander Lacazette, others would like to cash in on him.

While some would say the central attacking midfield position should be the priority, others would argue that it should be right-back. This is completely natural, as everyone is entitled to have their own opinions in football. There is no wrong or right.

The last sentence brings me to my opinion: Martin Odegaard should not be signed on a permanent deal.

I will tell you why…

The Norwegian’s preferred position is number 10, which is also the preferred position of Arsenal’s academy product Emile Smith Rowe.

When Odegaard starts, the Englishman is moved out to the left-hand side of the pitch. Even though the 20-year-old is effective in that part of the ground, it is not a position where he is the most dangerous.

The young midfielder who’s had a breakthrough campaign with the team this season, is the most potent when he is placed behind a striker. When playing from that central position, he can dribble and can even produce eye-of-a-needle passes.

But one of his trademarks is to move into the half-spaces between the winger and the center-forward. That is the position that the opponents dread.

Imagine you are a center-back playing against Smith Rowe. Before heading out to play the match, you will be certain that the 20-year-old will try to get into the “inside channels.”

But what’s the worst thing is that while on the pitch you will blame the central midfielders for not tracking his runs into the half-spaces, while your central midfielders will blame you for not marking him.

To put it simply, it creates chaos. Manchester City is the one team who do it in the most effective and efficient way. A video from a YouTube channel Nouman explains it in an excellent manner.

Put Smith Rowe on the left-wing, and he obviously won’t be able to cover the half spaces on the right-hand side of the pitch. Thus, that takes away some of his positive attributes that the current Arsenal team can benefit from massively.

When deployed at the attacking midfield position, the Englishman has nine goal contributions to his name in 23 appearances. While, when he was deployed on the left-wing, he’s had only one assist in five appearances.

Do a bit of maths and you will find that he makes a goal contribution every 230 minutes when deployed as a central midfielder, to a goal contribution every 450 minutes when deployed as a left winger.

At the other end of the spectrum, when Martin Odegaard has started, he has only played as a central midfielder. And thus In the 25 appearances made by him, the Real Madrid loanee has just two goals to show from it.

Some would argue that Odegaard is the guy who stretches the opposition defense by his passes. He is the guy who is “behind the strings” of the team’s attack. But is that not the case with Smith Rowe too?

The Hale End academy graduate is exactly the type of player Arsenal would be willing to pay big bucks for if he was playing for another club.

Data backs my stance more firmly (the following stats are only from this season’s domestic leagues).

Smith Rowe has had a pass completion rate of 87.6%, while Odegaard was behind at 86%. Smith Rowe is expected to score (xG) 1.1 goals per game, while the Norwegian is slightly trailing his counterpart at 1.

The Englishman also creates 7 “goal creating actions.” While the Norwegian made only 3. While defensively too, the Englishman has overpowered the Norway international. Smith Rowe makes 11 tackles per game, while that number stands at 6 for Odegaard.

Arsenal should target a player, who can play both on the wing and at central midfield to equal effect. Some realistic signings who fall under that category would be Norwich City’s Emi Buendia and Real Betis’ Nabil Fekir.

Impeding Smith Rowe’s development as a number 10 should be the last thing on the mind of the manager who would want a fresh restart next season.

Thus, the following season would be crucial for Mikel Arteta’s future at the club. Knowing what he wants from his team and recruiting accordingly would be absolutely vital, for his survival in London and the club’s evolution.

Yash Bisht


  1. Agreed. Willian was pretty impressive as no.10 yesterday. He’d been fine as backup for ESR for next season. Kiddo Taylor-Hart seems to be being groomed in the no.10 role too. Assuming he signs a new deal, he could be 3rd in line.

    1. In addition to that, we’ve got Saka, Nelson, Willock, Cottrell, Patino and Hutchinson for the CAM role. Many of our hot prospects can play behind the CF, but a versatile and consistent left-footed RW like Saka is a rare breed

      1. Would you be happy going to next season with willian and those bunch of kids as backup to smithrowe…? Mind you arsenal u23 fought relegation

          1. Are the fans ready to give the kids and arteta time? Thats another. Dont put to much pressure on the kid, they will come good when its their time. Remember the hype on nelson

        1. Arteta can’t judge players well from what I have seen. Watching against WBA made me realise how average we have become across the whole pitch. Slow and leggy in defence. No goal scorers in midfield. ESR scored his first PL goal, unbelievable. William too. With ESR and/or Odegaard in the squad we need loads more as our goal scoring is terrible.

          Leno is a good shot stopper but it’s curious how slow and indecisive he is and yet he is a senior squad player. I can’t forgive Arteta for letting the better, more positive keeper go. With squad leaders like Leno, Xhaka, Luis we are simply average. Odegaard pre injury was ok but post he was a waste of space not worth buying. Loan only. Maybe Arteta has 10 games to save his job but identifying younger hungry quicker players (sorry Chambers) has to be done or we will sink further.

      1. Going into the season relying on kids will lead to relegation. There’s a well known expression: you dont win anything with kids.

        Experience and consistency is needed.

  2. Smith-Rowe is faster, better in aerial/ ground duels and has more chemistry with Saka, but Odegaard has better close control. There must be a reason why Arteta wanted to try a left-footed CAM, but we’ve had Cottrell, Patino and Hutchinson for that role

    A good affordable CAM isn’t rare, as seen in Wolves’ Vitinha, WBA’s Perreira, Norwich’s Buendia, Leipzig’s Sabitzer and Szoboszlai. So I prefer to get a player type we don’t have, rather than wasting our budget on another CAM

  3. Leaving aside the way OVERBLOWN reliance on very short term stats in this article – which I always think shows a lack of real thought – I DO agree with Yash that Odegaards inclusion may well impede ESR.

    Given that any available transfer fees will be very short and given the many other holes in our team and squad, I say we can better use what funds we will get better elsewhere than Odegaard.

    I like Odegaard and had we a proper owner, then I would like him to stay but he will be beyond our financial limit and will not be here in any case, whatever any of us thinks, IMO.

  4. The simple truth is that if arteta is still in charge over the summer then we will get more hapless tinkering and on the job learning which will leave us lagging the big clubs for another season … we are no longer one with or without the SL idiocy … and we will be debating what to do with the likes of smith Rowe who will not carry us forward and whether we can keep hold of saka who will be looking for trophies … our situation requires a radical overhaul with a new manager a new football philosophy and a revamped squad … it’s taken Milan 7 years to get back to the CL ( assuming they do) and that will be our fate if we are lucky

  5. I think that analysis is a bit biased considering Odegaard had to change teams, settle into a different team, culture and philosophy into the toughest league in the world. I am actually quite surprised and amazed how quickly he adapted. Definitely a player worth signing. Nothing wrong in healthy good competition in any position. The youngsters mentioned coming through the academy has yet to prove themselves, as saying goes, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

  6. Have to agree although was a huge fan when Ode arrived. For me he has produced one outstanding performance, a few cameos and some completely anonomous displays. Decider for me has been this latest retun from injury during which time he has been invisible. And I hate these excuses that after injury a player can be permitted to play poorly for 3 or 4 games. That’s unacceptable in my book.
    Pleased we saw this now rather than after buying him. Use the funds better elsewhere please.

    1. Even Kevin de Bruyne struggled when coming back from injury. It is just a plain fact that players do struggle when coming back from an injury, whether we like it or not. And sometimes they are just a cautious.

      1. We don’t need Odegaad and Ceballos
        Send all of them back to Madrid

        Odegaad will stifle the development of ESR
        Arteta see Odegaad as the superior player and he’s not
        Arteta is also fund of Ceballos and Leno, all poor players. We should get rid of all of them

    1. 👍 It will be interesting to see how he goes at Real Madrid next season. A class player if he can stay fit.

    2. i agree, but it’s also not a right fit at the time. Why spend 40mill+ on a player who hasn’t really done too much since he’s come. We’ve got to spend our funds smarter than that.

  7. There’s way more to come from Odegaard in ghd future. He’s better than his current for suggests and when he’s finally up there he will be out of our reach if he isn’t already

  8. I will prefer we look for someone in the mood of diogo jota skill set who can contribute goals from anywhere on the pitch

  9. I have to admit that I am not sure how much odergaard lives on his name. Clearly he is a talented player but take away his best two or three apearances for us and what are we left with? Not a player we would want to spend precious resources on given our other needs.

    He doesn’t influence games enough for my liking. Now, if we could pick him up for £20 million that would be a different story, but he would likely cost £50 or more and to me he is not worth that type of money.

  10. Maybe a loan extension for another season?
    That would afford enough time to really assess his worth.
    For now, I don’t think he has done enough to warrant even the effort of securing a permanent deal for him.

  11. based on the past experiences with RM players we hired, all flopped over a period of time, hence a big NO. Same applies to CFC retirees too.
    one good game in a season is no good for either a title challenging team or a top ten team.

  12. ESR was a joy to watch yesterday, his positional play is excellent, his movement and drive with the ball is really good, he also has eyes to pick a pass and get goals and most of all still has lots of room and time to develop even further.
    Arsenal should be building the team around Saka and ESR next season. The only problem with him is that he’s injury prone thus a proper backup should be available to give him room for rest and recovery.

    Pepe has the ability to make the goal he scored yesterday a trademark. He just needs to be more direct with his movement.

    Next season has the potential to be a really good season for Arsenal with or without Arteta, we just need to invest properly in upgrades of personnel

    1. ESR will get stronger and more durable with age and proper strength and conditioning training.

  13. I agree Yash, Emi Buendia would be a good signing. He is box to box and way more creative than, Odegaard….not that Odegaard is a bad player. Something that has to change regardless is our side to side play, without any urgency or cutting edge. Only in the WBA game was there any urgency going forwards and although Pepe scored a great goal he looked pretty average. We play too much 💊 tranquiliser football.

  14. Any of Buendia or Aouar will be good. Central midfielder is what we really need. I am craving Bissouma to Partner Partey. They will bring out the best in each other.
    Left back, Goal keeper and right back to compete with Cedric

    1. Apparently Klopp’s interested in Bissouma now…
      I’d add a miracle to your list, SJ 😂

  15. Aubameyang.

    Willian. Odegaard. Saka.

    Ceballos. Partey.

    Tierney. Mari. Gabriel. Cedric.


    There are 8 Arteta signings in this line up apart from Luiz and Runnasson. I guess his 10 signings for us should be rated again as the season is drawing to a close

  16. This summer transfer window will reveal if we will go up or remain where we are next season.

    Minimum 150m pounds should be given to Arteta by hook or by crook.

    1. SJ By hook or by crook then eh? Just as well we have a crook as owner then” Being a crook, he will not be spending his money which he stole by owning our club.

  17. no we should not. joe willock has scored 4 EPL goals on an inferior team. how many has martin scored or assisted?

    oops. maybe that just means that Arteta is no good at management, at least not compared to Bruce.

    1. Aren’t we ashamed of our club and ourselves when as soon as we hear another club like Liverpool are also interested in one of our targets we back off. We are not worthy, ever do umble Arsenal. This has been the whole problem since Wegner. Settling for next best and making compromise after compromise. No wonder Arsenal has been stuck with do much deadwood. Getting rid of them has been like a having a garage sale which everyone simply drives past.

  18. Yep, Bissouma, and Buendia with Partey as the rock. Wishful thinking on my part.

  19. Bissouma will be guaranteed a starting place at Arsenal but that is unlikely at Liverpool.

  20. Odeggard is a traditional 10 which are passive players who wait for that run to make that perfect pass otherwise they just recycle play whereas ESR is a more direct player. His playstyle is unique with a blend of hardworking B2B player and the technical skills of a number 10. We have enough passive players who wait for the ball which is the reason for our terrible slow side way passing style so better ESR at 10 than odeggard.

    1. So true Ackshay…the static nature of our ultra-boring tactics, that seem to filter everything out wide and provide little to no real presence in the middle of the park, aren’t really suited for Ode… this is likely why he tended to favour a more right-sided position so that he might get the occasional Saka run and if not he would be in a more advantageous position to shoot on goal

      I would much prefer ESR as his desire, like Partey’s, to play more directly is the only chance we have to keep defences honest, otherwise our wide-side players will constantly face double-teams…no wonder Auba had an off-year, who’s going to succeed without the necessary service and more “dummy” runs off the ball to open up space in and around the box…not to mention, we need a number 10 who’s willing to stick his foot in and Ode isn’t that kind of player

  21. Every player ARS brought in the last 5-8 years were good. Some impressed us the first 2-3 games like Partey, Ceballios…and after that “welcome to ARS mentality..”. Or they get injuries just after arriving … wouldn’t play when they are needed…
    There is something questionable culture/moral at the club that turns every player into walking dead

  22. Odergaard is a good player but if Arsenal have 40 million to spend, they should look elsewhere and send him back to RM. They will need him a lot more there judging by the aging midfield that got out run by Chelsea. What Arsenal need is a more dynamic player who can back up, ESR, cover for Xhaka’s deficiencies and also capable of scoring 4 or 5 goals s season. Might have to make it 60 million but it will be worth it.

  23. Naive article. Firstly, for the 1st 25 mins against WBA, his tactics made WBA look like title contenders and bar lady l, could have gone 1 up. In the 2nd, we switched off as per usual…. like many games this season and allowed them to come back. It was WBA so they were not able to punish us but a walkover…..please,
    Secondly, on the main topic of this article. Odegard has come from Real where you have a better manager to this novice and I am sure the lack of tactics has befuddled odegard. See how he has no outlets when he is trying to drive forward? None of the squad moves and only …..ceballos has any understanding with him BUT like guendiuzi who many of you here had written off, proves why many posters here supported the novice…..lack of football nous.
    Anyway we cant afford odegard, likely will go to one of the top 4.
    ….and stan will sell to ek, the super league and its instant billions was why he held out. No more jackpot so he’ll piss off soon.

  24. I didn’t get the “false 9” approach. When you have players with pace, Martinelli, Saka, ESR, shouldn’t he be using them to support one of our established strikers. Pepe is too inconsistent for my liking, well over-priced. I love Lacca for his effort but playing him in the 10 role, he’s knackered by the time he gets into a scoring position. The frontline needs midfield support but Arteta’s idea of this varies from Partey on his lonesome, to a variety of toxic combinations of Elneny, Xhaka and Ceballos. As for the defence, I don’t know where to start? I would keep Tierney and Saliba has been playing well on loan, apart from those two, new keepers and other defenders required. I don’t see Arteta guiding us to glory anytime soon and giving him lots of money is just idiotic. kronke out!

  25. Lacazette is unfortunately a yard too slow for the EPL and I would sell him, because currently the Number 9 is our biggest problem.
    It is the position Arsenal have to get right in the upcoming transfer window! If they get a proven goal-scorer, it might just take the pressure off Aubameyang, such they he can start scoring again.
    Apart from a goalscorer, what Arsenal also need as desperately, is a midfield leader, but I have not seen one potential transfer candidate to Arsenal, mentioned anywhere, who fits that bill.
    I would forget both our Real Madrid loanees, and look for one top class midfielder and one top class striker. Preferably a young striker without a history of injuries (unlike Danny Ings), and a midfielder with pedigree (Not a Juventus – {Ramsey or Rabiot} or PSG {Drexler} reject).
    In my view, all the other positions are secondary considerations.
    As an aside, despite what the author said, ESR had one his best games playing on the left. However, that was when Tiernay was playing on the left too, and they combined beautifully together and were very effective.

    SO EDU use all of your summer transfer kitty filling these two positions and we might just get back into Europe next season.
    As an aside Arteta, GET RID OF YOUR BIASED GOALKEEPING COACH, the one who convinced you to keep LENO and sell our EMI. Look where that piece of business has left you!!!!!

  26. Question is other way around why would Martin Ordegard want to stay with a mistake team like us. I don’t think RM will allow him to go on another loan they will either include him in the first team next season or get rid of him completely. In that case he has got some big club as admirers who will snatch him up and I pretty sure if given the choice to him he will definitely choose a champions League club over us.

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