Martin Odegaard says Mikel Arteta played a crucial role in convincing him to make the switch from Real Madrid to Arsenal amid interest from several rival suitors for his services until the end of the season.
Odegaard was today unveiled as Arsenal's new No.11, signing on loan until the end of the season from Real Madrid. The Gunners swooped into the race last week, beating competition from Ajax and Real Sociedad, the latter the club where the Norwegian excelled on loan last season.
Arsenal boss Arteta was part of a club-wide charm offensive to convince Odegaard to make the move to the Premier League, where he is expected to compete with Emile Smith Rowe for the number 10 position in the Gunners' side.
Odegaard arrived in London late on Sunday, undergoing his medical and meeting his new team-mates on Monday. Arsenal and Arteta hope to involve him in their first team swiftly though it would be a remarkable step indeed to throw him into the starting XI against Manchester United on Sunday. Regardless the club have convinced their new signing of their big plans for him.
"It has been some hectic days but I've been talking to the club, to the manager and it seems like a great project and a great club. I'm just so excited, when I felt like I had a chance to come here I felt like it was a really good chance to take," Odegaard said. "I'm really happy to be here.
"[Arteta and technical director Edu] want me to come here and try to help the team. I think it's a good chance for me to improve and hopefully I can help the team to improve and reach our goals for this year.
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"I spoke to [Arteta] before coming here, of course. That was very important for me and he seems like a top manager and I liked his ideas, the way he sees football and also the way he is.
"He gave me a great feeling and that was important for me to come here. He was crucial.
"I think every time you go to a new place, you want to make sure that it feels good and that there is a plan. But I think everything here just seems good.
"I like the club and I always liked the way that the club wants to play. Everything about the club and now how the manager wants to play, I think it's a club that really suits me well. So I think it's a good match."
It was not Arteta alone who swung Odegaard in the direction of Arsenal with his fellow Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos texting him with "only good things to say about the club, the manager and everything". His signing will be viewed as a considerable boost to Edu, who had vowed to address the Gunners' creative issues in a window where Mesut Ozil was allowed to depart for free.
"Martin is an exceptional talent and we are strengthening our squad by introducing an exciting offensive player to the club for the remaining months of this season," said the Arsenal technical director.
Arteta added: "It's great that we've secured Martin to come to us until the end of the season. Martin is of course a player that we all know very well and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while. Martin will provide us with quality offensive options and we're all excited to be integrating him into our plans between now and May."