Martin Odegaard “reminds” former Arsenal defender William Gallas of legendary Gunners forward Dennis Bergkamp.
The 24-year-old Arsenal skipper has signed a new contract until 2028 as he follows in the footsteps of the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba in extending his Emirates Stadium deal.
Odegaard has been pivotal to the club’s transformation into Premier League title challengers, leading by example with 15 goals and seven assists as the Gunners finished second to Manchester City last term.
He has three goals in six appearances already this season and the club announced on Friday that the reward for such fine form was a new five-year deal.
And Gallas says Arsenal “are not the same” without him, and likened the Norway international with club legend Bergkamp due to his ability to “make the difference” with his quality in tight games.
“It’s good news that Arsenal are signing Odegaard to a new contract,” former Asenal skipper Gallas told Genting Casino.
“He is a playmaker, and he is the player in this Arsenal team that is expected to unlock tight matches with his quality.
“The pass that he produced for Saka to then set-up Trossard in the Everton game was magnificent.
“He is such an important player for Arsenal. If you take him out of the team, Arsenal are not the same.
“I think you can compare Odegaard to Dennis Bergkamp. He isn’t on Bergkamp’s level yet – Bergkamp was an unbelievable player for Arsenal – but Odegaard reminds me of him. Odegaard can make the difference with his quality.
“Odegaard is so good on the ball. He has wonderful vision – he rarely loses the ball. Every team would love to have a player like him and if Arsenal can extend his contract, then that is good news for everyone at the club.”
Reacting to his new contract, Odegaard said: “It was an easy decision for me. As I said many times, I felt connected and I felt at home here since the first day,” said Odegaard, who initially joined on loan from Real Madrid in January 2021 before making the move permanent that summer.
“Also I was moving around a lot and struggling to really settle down, so I felt like I needed a place to come and settle down and to kind of find a home.
“That’s what I did here and I felt it from the first day, so it was easy for me to commit. I’m also excited for what we’re doing now and for the future, so I’m really happy.”