There were very many Arsenal transfer rumours linking the Gunners with the Norwich playmaker Emi Buendia early in the transfer window, but the Norwich boss Daniel Farke was in no mood to let his best player leave while the Canaries were fighting for automatic promotion to the Premier League.
But the transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has confirmed in an exclusive interview with Caughtoffside that Buendia was Arsenal’s first choice to bring in before deciding to switch to Odegaard. “Arsenal were in touch with Emi Buendia’s agent but in the end they decided to go for Odegaard because of the money,” Romano said. “Norwich were asking for €40-45million, so for Arsenal it was really difficult to complete this deal in January. In the summer we’ll see, but I think there will be other clubs also in the race for this Argentinian player.”
It remains to be seen if we made the correct decision, but I am sure that will obviously depend on how Odegaard performs in his loan spell. Mikel Arteta sounds excited with Odegaard and confident that he will be good for us. As the boss told Arsenal.com: “… I’ve followed him very closely because he played for Real Sociedad, which is my hometown. I know him really well. I’ve been really impressed. He’s a such a talent. He needs the right environment, he needs a little bit of time but I think he’s got the qualities to be a success for us.
“He’s a specialist to play in the pockets, to play in the No 8 or 10 positions. He can play off the sides. He’s a really creative player who’s really comfortable on the ball in tight spaces. He has the capacity to create chances and to score goals. Something that he has improved a lot is his work-rate without the ball as well, so it’s another option to give us more creativity for sure in the final third, and give us more options to set up in different ways against certain teams.”
The one advantage that Buendia would have is that he is not moving countries and will need no settling in time, and also the fact that he is totally match fit, while Odegaard has hardly played any competitive football at all this season.
We will just have to keep our fingers crossed that everything work out to our benefit, but am very keen to see the Norwegian international in action. I hope he is as exciting as Arteta thinks he is!