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'Arsenal were seriously trying': Romano names player Arteta wanted before Odegaard

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Arsenal and Edu’s January transfer activity wasn’t really impressive in terms of new signings, but it did the job until the summer.

The Gunners brought in Maty Ryan to provide backup to Bernd Leno and replaced Mesut Ozil with Martin Odegaard, who will stay with us at least until the end of this season.

The deal to bring the Norwegian to the Premier League happened fairly quickly. It wasn’t weeks of speculation like it usually is with Arsenal. Edu struck a deal with Real Madrid and he became an Arsenal player in a matter of days.

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So why didn’t Arsenal get this done in the first few days of the window? Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has revealed that another attacking midfielder was the priority for Mikel Arteta before he gave the nod to sign Odegaard.

Romano said on the Here We Go podcast: “At the start of the window, Arsenal were seriously trying to sign Riqui Puig on loan with a buy option. A similar deal as Odegaard, also with Riqui Puig at Barcelona.

“Barcelona said let’s see with (Ronald) Koeman, if he wants to keep the player, if he wants to play, let’s wait some weeks. Then in the middle of January they said ‘No. Riqui Puig is not moving, we are keeping him’.”

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Missed opportunity?

We can all have a long debate about who the better player is – Odegaard or Puig. Both play in a similar position and both have a massive future ahead of them irrespective of who they represent.

If Romano is to be believed, Puig was Arteta’s first option, but signing Odegaard makes a lot more sense – hear us out.

Puig might have had a huge impact had he joined us but there is absolutely no way Barcelona would discuss selling him permanently in the summer. Odegaard, however, is someone who we can sign on a long-term deal at the end of this season.

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Real Madrid would ideally like to keep hold of him but the rift between him and Zidane is pretty evident.

Odegaard has reportedly told his parent club that he will not return as long as the Frenchman is at the helm. (Read here) That is a huge boost for us, especially if he takes the Premier League by storm in the coming weeks.

Puig is definitely an amazing talent but Odegaard can be an Arsenal player for years to come. Barca rejecting our offer might just benefit us in the long run, and there is no reason why the Norwegian can’t turn out to be a much better player then Puig.

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