THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY of Arsenal signing Martin Ødegaard

The Good

Martin Ødegaard (herewith known as Martin Odergaard) is a talented youngster.

Still just 22-years-old, it seems a life time ago that Real Madrid signed the Norwegian midfielder who made his league debut at just 15-years-old.

He went off the radar for a bit whilst he grew from boy to man, loaned out to Heerenveen and Vitesse in Holland.

Last season was a break through season for him as he was one of Real Sociedad’s best players (on loan again) as the Spanish side finished 6th – their highest finish since 2013.

A technically gifted 10, he will provide Arsenal with some extra creativity.

“Do not want to see Willian and Pepe on the pitch together again” was tweeted by many following Arsenal’s limp display as we exited the FA Cup against Southampton.

The signing of Odergaard should ensure that happens.

Whilst we can argue whether Mikel Arteta should have rested Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka for the FA Cup game or tomorrow nights league game against the same opposition, there should be no argument that the young pair need to be protected.

The issue for Arteta is once the decision is made to rest both, he had very few options beyond playing Pepe and Willian together – especially after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late withdrawal for personal reasons.

With Reiss Nelson injured again (it is time to give up on him), it left Arteta with the choice of Gabriel Martinelli, Willian, Pepe, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

‘In hindsight, he should have gone with Willock and Maitland-Niles. But that would have signalled the end of Willian and Pepe’s career at Arsenal.

With Smith Rowe’s development and Martinelli’s return to fitness, Odergaard joining should push Pepe and Willian down to 6th and 7th choice behind: Aubameyang, Odergaard, Saka, Martinelli & Smith Rowe.

The Bad

With no option to buy, Odergaard is yet another short term recruit.

We have wasted a lot of money in the last couple of years on short term recruits.

It started with the signing of Stephan Lichtsteiner for free in 2018. The Swiss right back was followed by Denis Suarez on loan the next January.

Summer 2019 saw us make the shock move for David Luiz, with Dani Ceballos also joining on loan.

This summer saw Willian join the club.

Whilst the likes of Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares also joined on loan; they both joined with agreements in place to make their stay long term.

Lichtsteiner, Suarez, Luiz, Ceballos and Willian were always short term recruits. Whether with the next 6 months or next 2 years in mind. None were signed with an eye on the long term.

A couple of individual performances by Luiz and Ceballos aside, Arsenal would be no worse off had we not signed the 5.

The concern with Odergaard is by the time he has caught up to the pace of English football and got match fit (he has not started a game since 1st December), his loan will be over.

Hopefully I am proven wrong, he hits the ground running and Arsenal sign him permanently in the summer. But for now it feels like another sticking plaster. Another short term option to a long term problem.

The Ugly

Nicolas Pepe cost the club £72million. Willian signed a 3 year deal on a repored £200,000 a week.

Pepe’s transfer fee and Willian’s wages will cost the club over £100million. Can chuck in another £30million in Pepe’s wages.

The pair are costing us around £40million a year in amortised transfer fee and wages. And are now 6th and 7th choice.

From Pepe to Willian, Luiz, Lichtsteiner & Suarez. Mesut Ozil’s new deal, swapping Alexis Sanchez for Mkhitaryan. Not getting a fee for Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck or Jack Wilshere. Raising about £15million for Wojech Szczesny and Serge Gnabry

It is digusting to think about how much money we have wasted in poor signings and contracts, how much money we have lost in losing players on a free and underselling players.

£15million and Mkhitaryan for Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey, Welbeck, Wilshire, Szczesny, Gnabry and Mkhitaryan. Ugly.



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