Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard ‘has always been’ Arsenal’s number one transfer target in their search for a creative midfielder, according to reports.
The Norway captain spent the second half of the 2020/21 season on loan at the Emirates as the Gunners finished eighth in the Premier League.
Despite the club’s disappointing campaign, Odegaard impressed during his short time under Mikel Arteta.
And the north Londoners have been linked with a permanent move for the 22-year-old all summer.
Arsenal are in dire need of a creative spark in midfield and have also been linked with Leicester City star James Maddison.
Maddison and Odegaard appear to be the club’s top targets in their search for a new No.10 and have both been the subject of intense transfer speculation over the last month.
The Gunners have reportedly had an offer rejected by Leicester for Maddison, attempting to include the likes of Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson in a players-plus-cash deal.
There has been no rumours of an Arsenal bid for Odegaard yet, but Arteta and technical director Edu have been monitoring the Norwegian’s situation closely.
And Fabrizio Romano has claimed the Madrid star has always been top of Arsenal’s summer shopping list.
Romano said on Twitter: “Martin Odegaard has always been Arsenal priority, more than Maddison.
“Arsenal board now waiting for Real Madrid final decision on Odegaard future – they’d be ready to bid for the Norwegian talent.”
Martin Ødegaard has always been Arsenal priority, more than Maddison. Arsenal board now waiting for Real Madrid final decision on Ødegaard future – they’d be ready to bid for the Norwegian talent. 🇳🇴 #AFC #Real
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 12, 2021
Odegaard made 14 Premier League appearances under Arteta last term, recording a goal and two assists.
The midfielder signed for Real at the age 0f 16 in 2015, but has only made 11 first team appearances for the Spanish giants.
Elsewhere, Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane have slammed Arsenal’s recruitment since Edu joined the club.
Carragher said on Sky Sports’ The Overlap fan debate: “In the years since Arsene Wenger left, or since Arsenal won the title, for an outsider it’s been difficult to get behind anything with Arsenal in terms of, okay they’re not winning, but you can sort of see where this is going.
“When you’re talking about Edu as sporting director, you’re bringing David Luiz in and you’re bringing Willian in – two rejects from Chelsea. I’m just scratching my head thinking, ‘I can’t get behind this, it’s wrong, it doesn’t work’.”
“Why are you buying rejects from Chelsea who are over 30? And then giving them big deals and you can’t get rid of them? That’s a mistake before it’s happened. That’s just stupid.”