Martin Odegaard has become something of a talisman for Arsenal, but it seems Real Madrid want him to return from his loan at the end of the season.
The young Norweigan has been a revelation at the Emirates Stadium. His use of the ball in the final third has made Arsenal’s attack far more functional. With the pace and creativity of the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka around him, he is what keeps their attack ticking. However, it looks as if he could be returning to Madrid. So Arsenal need a player who can fit into this role.
That means someone who’s happy to play as a number 10 or a winger. Someone who retains possession high up the pitch and is capable of taking on a strike themselves. Preferably someone who has a bit of experience, but has room to grow at the club.
A more experienced option than Odegaard is Athletic Bilbao’s creative winger, Iker Munian. Once lauded as the brightest talent to be produced from Bilbao’s Cantera academy, his star has waned in recent years. Able to play on either wing or behind the striker, his versatility is a bonus, however.
With five goals and four assists in 26 La Liga appearances, his productivity is not the highest. However, he is actually overperforming both these metrics, with his expected goals standing at. As part of a higher quality team, it’s easy to see those numbers improving.
However, his ball retention is exceptional. He’s completed 82% of his passes this season, more than 91% of players in his position according to FBref. Odegaard’s figures are slightly better, completing 84% of their passes, but their profiles match up well.
Another La Liga star who could be a target for the Gunners is Angel Correa. The 26-year-old Argentinian has been a mainstay at Atletico for years. However, securing a permanent spot in Simeone’s team has been difficult. Only twice has he managed to complete 90 minutes in La Liga this season.
If he came to Arsenal to replace Odegaard however, he’d be a mainstay. At 26 years-old it’d be the perfect time for a move. Slotting in on the right side or as a striker, Correa’s ball retention and aggression getting into the box would fit perfectly into Arteta’s Arsenal. With a 77% pass accuracy as well as 0.26 assists per 90, he’s got just the creative edge the Gunners would need.
Of course, the cost would be high. His transfer value according to transfermarkt is €40 million, but Atletico would probably charge more than that. Of course, the relations between the clubs appear to be good, with Lucas Torreira and Thomas Partey moving between the two in the summer.
Previously linked to Arsenal before Odegaard joined, it’s easy to see why he was linked to a move to London. Brandt’s ball retention in the final third is top-notch, just like Odegaard’s. The German’s number of passes and accuracy are both in the 97th percentile for players in his position according to FBref.
Able to play in midfield or on the wings, he has the versatility Arteta looks for in attackers. Unfortunately, similar to the previous players on this list, his figures of a goal and two assists this season leave a lot to be desired.
However, Martin Odegaard’s productivity has never been particularly high. Where he succeeds is his ability to sustain attacks, and Brandt is excellent in that fashion too. Given the competition at Borussia Dortmund, it’s easy to see him making the move to London.