Mikel Arteta spoke to the press ahead of Arsenal’s second round League Cup game against West Brom at the Hawthornes on Wednesday night and he explained why he wanted to sign Martin Odegaard.

Martin Odegaard signing for Arsenal (Photo via Odegaard on Instagram)
Martin Odegaard signing for Arsenal (Photo via Odegaard on Instagram)

When Martin Odegaard left Arsenal to return to Real Madrid in the summer, it seemed very unlikely he would be returning. Real Madrid said they had plans to make him a key first-teamer, so said the press at least, while Odegaard wanted to make it at the club he signed for as a 16-year-old.

But once pre-season got underway, it started to become clear where Odegaard ranked in the Real Madrid pecking order and the door opened.

Mikel Arteta says that Odegaard ‘always expressed a desire to come’ to Arsenal, but I’m not entirely sure that’s true. In addition, he also explained all the traits that Odegaard has that encouraged him to sign him.

“I was really happy [to sign Martin Odegaard] because at one stage we thought it wouldn’t be possible, Madrid wasn’t very keen on selling the player,” Arteta told reporters.

“Martin always expressed his desire to come, but it wasn’t looking very possible and then the door opened and straight away the club was really supportive and Edu did a great job to manage the situation and we got the player that we wanted and we know because we have experience already with him for six months.

“I think he makes the rest of the players around him better. His work ethic is phenomenal, the way he goes about his job, his professionalism, his character, he’s a very likeable person. I think he has fitted really well into the culture and then for the way we want to play he’s a player with exceptional qualities to add to them.”

Odegaard is in-line to start against West Brom after his visa was sorted. Unlike previous years, when the League Cup was a great chance to give first-teamers a rest and play some kids, our first-team is now mostly kids and there is nobody else to play.

Arsenal will be playing their strongest lineup in this game, desperately in need of a goal and a win.