Mikel Arteta spoke to the media on Thursday, answering questions on Martin Odegaard and whether he could make his debut against Manchester United.

Martin Odegaard with Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)
Martin Odegaard with Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)

As you’d expect, the Arsenal fans are excited to see new signing Martin Odegaard in action as soon as possible, after his loan deal from Real Madrid was announced on Wednesday.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Mikel Arteta said it was too soon to make a decision on whether Odegaard could start the match.

“It’s a little bit early to decide,” Arteta said. “Let’s see how he goes in training and we will see, don’t worry.

“He’s a player that we followed for some time and we believe that he’s got some special qualities that we need, that we have been missing. Now we have to give him a little bit of time.

“He hasn’t played that many minutes in Madrid but he’s been training hard and he looks so excited, as we are, to have another big talent at our club.”

Odegaard doesn’t need to isolate, despite coming over from Spain. The rules have changed since the summer, so a negative Covid test is enough for him to start integrating immediately.

There were also some doubts over the midfielder’s fitness, but Mark Mann-Bryans reports that Odegaard should be fit and available for Arsenal’s match against Manchester United on Saturday.

James Benge adds that the suggestions Odegaard arrived with an injury have been described as ‘nonsense’ by Arsenal sources.

However, it is reportedly unlikely the player will start the game, or play a large role in it. Given Arsenal are facing one of the league leaders and Odegaard hasn’t played much football this season, that shouldn’t be particularly surprising.

It looks like we’ll need to keep our fingers crossed on Emile Smith Rowe’s fitness for the weekend. Otherwise, we’d expect to see Willian starting in the number 10 role.

The good news is that we’re hopefully closing in on a day when Mikel Arteta has Odegaard and Smith Rowe to choose and rotate between for that starting number 10 role. That’s just unlikely to be the case this Saturday.