When news broke that Arsenal were in talks to extend Martin Odegaard’s contract, fan sentiment came out in the same way it would with a link to a new signing.
It has long been known how important the midfielder is to both the club and Mikel Arteta. Take for example his strong start to this season, which has already seen him score three goals in six games, marking the start of last season which saw the Gunners captain secure a place on the Ballon D’Or list.
He embodies Arsenal. A vital cog in a machine already on the lookout for a threat to the opposition; The 4-0 win over PSV on Wednesday is an example. And after days of discussions between the club and representatives, a long-term contract has now been officially signed that will keep Odegaard in north London until the summer of 2028. A major coup for both sides.
The chance of winning trophies invariably played a role.
“The decision was easy for me,” he says. “I felt connected and at home here from day one.” I also traveled a lot and struggled to really settle in. So I felt like I needed a place where I could come and settle down and find a home, so to speak.
Martin Odegaard has signed a contract extension and will stay at Arsenal until 2028
Odegaard said it was an easy decision as “the people at the club and the fans are great”.
Odegaard said he was thinking about trophies but insisted he wanted to win them with Arsenal
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“(There are) great people here at the club, the fans too, everything about the club just suits me well.”
“Of course I think about it (winning trophies). That’s the big dream, the big goal, to win something with the club. That’s why I signed here, because I believe we can achieve great things.”
It comes on Sunday ahead of the highly anticipated north London derby against famous rivals Tottenham. Or “the big one,” as he calls it.
“I think when I first came here I knew straight away that the game was special,” he says.
“You can just feel it on the training ground and on social media.” Although I try not to focus too much on social media. You can still see and feel it from the fans. It’s a special game and we’re looking forward to playing it here at home with the fans. “It’s one of those games that you really enjoy playing and it’s going to be a beautiful game.”
It’s been a long journey since his time at Real Madrid, when the Norwegian left behind several loan spells due to the hype surrounding this ‘next big thing’.
Odegaard joined Arsenal on loan in 2021 before signing a four-year deal that was initially met with skepticism. Was the prodigy able to live up to the expectations of his Madrid label? In any case. Since then, a “special feeling” has developed for a club he admired as a teenager.
“It was just a little different in Madrid,” he explains. “I was very young, I was stuck between the first and second teams. So I never really had the time to settle down.
He moved on loan in 2021 before signing a four-year deal that was met with skepticism
However, Odegaard has proven himself at the north London club and wants to continue to do so
The connection with Mikel Arteta has also played a role, as the 24-year-old’s footballing acumen has changed under the Spaniard
“I always had this special feeling at Arsenal. Even before I came here, I remember playing FIFA and always being Arsenal. I had a good feeling about the club and brought myself here. From day one I felt like this was a good place. It feels good to stay longer.”
The connection with Arteta has also played a role, as the 24-year-old’s footballing acumen has changed under the Spaniard.
“I think it’s just the way he talks,” he says. “The way he sees football.” He’s so smart, he sees so many details that you don’t even think about. The way he explains it to you, it makes sense.
“He helped me a lot in improving my positioning – where I can threaten, what areas I can threaten and how I can be more dangerous if I get into the box at the right time.” Body position before receiving the ball. Little things like this can help you tremendously.”
Last season, Odegaard scored 15 goals and 8 assists in the league – his record. Still, he believes he has missed out on scoring more goals and wants to surpass that number this season.
He added: “Of course I want to improve and be better than last year, but I don’t have a specific number that I want to achieve.”
“I just want to concentrate on doing the right things and then I think the results will be good.” Even last year I missed a lot of big chances and could have scored a lot more goals!
“I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement there too.” If I score the goal or provide the assist, that’s not the main thing.
“I knew I had it in me.” I have always scored a lot of goals since I was young. Hopefully I can keep it up.’