Ex-Gunner Perry Groves believes that Arsenal have stopped pursuing a deal for Martin Odegaard because the Norwegian is just like Mesut Ozil.
The Real Madrid man spent the second half of last season on loan at the Emirates and he became a fan favourite. He only managed two goals and two assists in 20 appearances in all competitions, but his overall performances were incredibly impressive.
Multiple reports claimed even before the end of last season that Odegaard was Arteta’s priority target this summer. The Arsenal boss wanted him back, but Real Madrid seem to have decided to keep hold of him, and that has forced the Gunners to look elsewhere.
However, Groves believes that it was Arsenal who decided against signing Odegaard because he was very similar to a former Gunner who played in his position for over six years at the Emirates.
Groves: Martin Odegaard is just another Mesut Ozil
He said on talkSPORT: “When I watched him play I could tell he had a lot of talent but he reminded me of a younger version of Mesut Ozil because he didn’t get a grip of the game enough. Ozil had so much talent and when he fancied it, he was one of the best players in the Premier League.
“He didn’t do it on a regular basis and didn’t dominate the way he should. If you’re playing in the No.10 role you’ve got to do better from Odegaard’s point of view than one goal and one assist.
“You’ve got to contribute more in a side that usually dominates possession. Emile Smith Rowe can play in that position as well and he’ll give you more on the ball and off it – so it (Arsenal not signing him on a permanent deal) didn’t surprise me at all.”
The Insider’s View:
Mesut Ozil is one of the most misunderstood footballers of our generation and Odegaard, sadly, falls into a similar category.
An attacking midfielder is definitely expected to score and assist regularly, but those numbers alone cannot be used to judge the quality of a player. Odegaard, labelled as ‘incredible‘ by Arteta, only registered four direct goal contributions, but he was one of our best players when he was here.
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People also forget that he’s still only 22 and he had no time to settle into the Premier League whatsoever. Yet, he performed brilliantly in most of our games, and if Real Madrid tell Arsenal that Odegaard’s available, you can bet that Arteta will jump at the chance of signing him again this summer.