Mikel Arteta says Martin Odegaard was always keen to come to Arsenal, and it was Real Madrid who held up and almost prevented a transfer.

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

Martin Odegaard completed his permanent transfer to Arsenal on a long-term deal last week, and with his visa issues sorted it looks like he’s in line for a second debut appearance against West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup on Wednesday night.

Mikel Arteta is obviously delighted to have the player, his top summer target in midfield, but he admits that at one stage it looked like the deal might not happen at all. Rather than an unwillingness from Odegaard to return, it was apparently Real Madrid delaying a deal.

“I was really happy (to sign Martin) because at one stage we thought it wouldn’t be possible, Madrid wasn’t very keen on selling the player,” Arteta admitted. “Martin always expressed his desire to come, but it wasn’t looking very possible.

“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.”

The important thing is that the deal Odegaard wanted got done in the end.

As for the West Brom game, Arteta didn’t reveal whether or not Odegaard would get a start, but he did confirm that both Odegaard and new goalkeeper signing Aaron Ramsdale are keen to be involved in the fixture.

“We will see, they’ve both been training a few days now,” Arteta said. “We just got the VISA from Martin yesterday I think and Aaron has been a while without training, but they both want to play.”