New addition Martin Odegaard has heaped praise on Arsenal’s activity in the summer transfer window and believes the team are now good enough to challenge higher up the table.
Although the football betting odds pre-season did not favour Arsenal to finish in the top four, smart transfer signings seem to making the Gunners a smart bet to sneak into the Champions League places.
The Gunners forked out €35m to sign the Norwegian playmaker from Real Madrid as part of Mikel Arteta’s hopes of assembling a squad capable of competing for a top-four finish in the Premier League this term.
Before signing Odegaard, Arsenal brought in highly-rated centre-back Ben White from Brighton for a reported fee of £50m.
In addition to the abovementioned duo, talented youngsters Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares have also arrived at the Emirates this summer.
However, Arsenal won’t stop there, as they are on the verge of completing a £30m move for Sheffield United shot-stopper Aaron Ramsdale.
Accompanied by some long-serving stalwarts, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka, the Gunners would look like a respectable squad, at least on paper.
But the Londoners’ displays in recent years are hardly inspiring and they have a point to prove this season.
After back-to-back eighth-place finishes, Arsenal started the new league campaign with an underwhelming 2-0 loss to newly-promoted Brentford on the opening weekend.
Arteta’s side will be desperate to bounce back from a sluggish Premier League start when they lock horns with bitter cross-town rivals Chelsea on Sunday.
Odegaard, who already decided one London derby during his six-loan spell in the capital last season, won’t be in contention for the upcoming all-London showdown.
The Norwegian’s lone Premier League strike came in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in mid-March.
During his first interview as a new Arsenal player, the 22-year-old admitted he watched some of Arsenal’s pre-season matches.
“I’ve watched some of the games in pre-season and they all looked like good signings,” he said, as relayed by the Metro.
“Obviously, I’ve seen more of Ben White in the league last year. So, yeah, I think it’s a lot of quality and good additions to the squad.
“The squad looks really strong now and it makes me really excited.”
Odegaard’s return should be a massive coup for Arsenal, especially considering the way they played in their Premier League curtain-raiser.
Despite Emile Smith Rowe’s utmost attempts to orchestrate something upfront, a lack of quality in the attacking third was plain for everyone to see against Brentford.
Odegaard will wear the number eight jersey, previously occupied by Dani Ceballos, who returned to Madrid after a two-season loan in London.