GOAL - Charles Watts
Arsenal are hopeful of signing Martin Odegaard on loan in the coming days.
Talks are ongoing with Real Madrid over a deal for the attacking midfielder and Goal reports that the north London club are growing in their belief that they are on course to land their man until the end of the season.
It had looked like the Norway international would be returning for another loan spell with Real Sociedad, following on from the successful year he spent in San Sebastian during the 2019-20 campaign.
But Arsenal have now moved to the front of the queue for Odegaard, who requested permission to leave Real Madrid this month in order to get more regular game time.
The 22-year-old, who can operate as a No.10 or on the right wing, has made just nine appearances for the Spanish champions this season and only three starts in La Liga - two of which came in the opening week of the campaign.
Arsenal have been in the market for a new attacking midfielder this month to help take the burden off Emile Smith Rowe.
The 20-year-old has been exceptional in recent weeks, but Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff are aware that the youngster - who has had injury problems during the past two years - needs help.
Arsenal’s priority this month has always been on reducing the number of players in his squad, with Mesut Ozil, Sean Kolasinac, William Saliba and Sokratis all being allowed to leave.
But Arteta confirmed on Thursday that the focus now has shifted too bringing players in.
"We are in that process right now," said the Gunners boss. "We've done the first part (trimming the squad), more or less, and now we are focusing on the second phase.
"Obviously this market and the context makes it really difficult but we are looking at options and we will see what we can do."
When asked about a move to Odegaard, Arteta added: "I cannot comment about players that play for other clubs.
"We are looking at various positions because the movements that we've made in this transfer window with some players leaving the club leaves us a little bit short in certain areas.
"If we can then we will do it, if we can't then we will just keep going with what we have."
Sources at Arsenal say there is still work to be done before full agreement is reached over Odegaard, with reports in Spain suggesting there will be no purchase agreement included in the deal.
Discussions are ongoing between Arsenal and Madrid, but the Gunners are hopeful that the young attacker will soon be part of Arteta’s squad.