Paul Merson has asked Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to stop picking Martin Odegaard for games if the midfielder is not going to make his move to the club permanent.
The Norwegian is spending the second half of the 2020/21 season at the Emirates on loan from Real Madrid after finding game time difficult to come by under Zinedine Zidane.
The North Londoners do not have the option of making the deal permanent and will need to return to the negotiation table in the summer if they wish to make a deal happen after the loan expires.
Regardless, Odegaard’s future at Real Madrid remains uncertain although reports suggest that the Norway captain has prioritized making it in Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Merson feels that Odegaard’s arrival is hampering Emile Smith Rowe’s development at the Emirates. Merson wrote in his column for The Star:
“Martin Odegaard looks a really good player and I hope Arsenal have a chance of signing him permanently,”
“Because if they don’t have a chance of making his loan permanent next season, why is he playing? If they know he doesn’t want to stay, he shouldn’t be playing because he’s taking opportunities away from people like Emile Smith Rowe.
“So I hope Arsenal have done their homework and know what the situation is – I’d be disappointed if they haven’t already made a bid to be honest!
“It took him a while to adjust but you have to give him the ball. He gets into lots of good positions, and to start with his team-mates weren’t seeing him. They weren’t giving him the ball. But now he’s getting it more often and he’s making things happen. He can hurt opposing teams.
“It’s almost a free role and for someone so young to be trusted with such a difficult position at such a young age is a big deal.
“But if he’s okay after his injury and he helps Arsenal win the Europa League, Real Madrid will probably want him back – or add a lot more money to his asking price.”
It remains to be seen if Odegaard would eventually choose Arsenal although thoughts along this line will only prevail if the Norwegian continues to impress at the Emirates until the end of the season.