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Football Reporting


Paul Merson tells Mikel Arteta he shouldn’t be playing Martin Odegaard if he won’t sign

Paul Merson has questioned why Mikel Arteta is playing Martin Odegaard if he doesn’t anticipate signing him permanently.

The Arsenal loanee arrive from Real Madrid in January and has already made a big impact.

His creative flair in the final third has been a huge plus for the Gunners, but a decision will have to be made come the end of the season.

Odegaard faces an uncertain future in Madrid with Zinedine Zidane rarely including the Norwegian.

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Arsenal though may struggle to stump up the cash to sign him with a huge release clause inserted into his Los Blancos contract.

Arteta has several blossoming youngsters at his disposal and Merson is concerned that Odegaard may be hampering their development – which is a problem if he doesn’t remain at the Emirates.

Martin Odegaard's future is unclear
Martin Odegaard’s future is unclear

“Martin Odegaard looks a really good player and I hope Arsenal have a chance of signing him permanently,” Merson told the Daily Star.

“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!

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Emile Smith Rowe has come on impressively this term
Emile Smith Rowe has come on impressively this term

“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.”

Odegaard suffered an injury while on international duty this week, but his knock is not thought to be a long-term issue.

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