Arsenal secure Odegaard in permanent deal as spending spree continues
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London (AFP) –
Arsenal secured the signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on a permanent deal on Friday after the Norwegian international midfielder impressed during a loan spell at the Emirates last season.
The 22-year-old will reportedly cost the Gunners an initial £30 million ($41 million) with Arsenal also expected to splash £30 million on England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United in the coming days.
Odegaard joined Madrid as a much-hyped 16-year-old in 2015, but went on to make only eight La Liga appearances for the Spanish giants as he was farmed out on loan spells at Heerenveen, Vitesse Arnhem and Real Sociedad before joining Arsenal in January.
In 20 appearances with the English side, Odegaard scored two goals and provided two assists, but could not prevent Arsenal failing to qualify for European football for the first time in 25 years as Mikel Arteta's men finished eighth in the Premier League.
"He made us better (last season), we needed more options and alternatives for creativity," said Arteta on Friday.
"He is still a really young man but he has huge experiences in clubs already and has unique talents for the way we want to play, so I am really pleased the club have made the effort."
The pressure is already on Arteta after a miserable start to the new season in a 2-0 defeat to newly-promoted Brentford.
Odegaard will not be registered in time to face European champions Chelsea with a daunting trip to Premier League winners Manchester City to come next weekend.
- Ramsdale imminent -
Ramsdale is expected to challenge Bernd Leno for the number one jersey after the German was at fault for both Brentford's goals last weekend.
The 23-year-old has suffered back-to-back relegations from the Premier League with Bournemouth and Sheffield United.
However, he impressed enough in the second half of last season to be called into the England squad for Euro 2020 when Manchester United's Dean Henderson was forced to withdraw due to a hip injury.
"There is still some paperwork but his medical is done" Arteta added on Ramsdale's imminent arrival.
The two new signings take Arsenal's overall spending in the transfer window well above £100 million despite facing a fifth straight season without the riches of Champions League football.
England international centre-back Ben White arrived from Brighton for £50 million, while left-back Nuno Tavares and Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi-Lokonga add depth to Arteta's squad.
Club owner, the US billionaire Stan Kroenke, faced a fierce supporter backlash following his role in the failed European Super League project and perceived lack of investment in the playing squad.
Kroenke has been the club's majority shareholder for a decade and took full control of the club by buying out Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov's stake in 2018.
Arsenal's performances on the pitch have declined markedly during his reign.
The London club have not won a Premier League title since 2003/04 and have missed out on a top-four finish in the English top flight for the past five seasons.
© 2021 AFP