“We Fought Like Mad to Sign Him”–Arsene Wenger On Current Arsenal Star

Arsene Wenger

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he was desperate to sign current Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard when he was a teenager.

The Arsenal captain was one of football’s emerging stars as a teenager, and several clubs clamoured for his services, including Arsenal, but Spanish club Real Madrid ultimately got him.

When Martin Odegaard made his debut at the very young age of just 15 years for the Norwegian club Stromgodset, it didn’t take long for the European powerhouses to notice his talent.

Arsene Wenger, who has an eye for young talent revealed that he ‘fought like mad’ to sign him for Arsenal, but he ultimately lost out as the youngster moved to Real Madrid.

Before Martin Odegaard signed for Real Madrid, he had trained with the likes of Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Arsenal, however, the temptation to play under Zinedine Zidane, who was Real Madrid’s manager at the time, was why the other clubs lost out on his signature.

It didn’t really go well for Martin Odegaard at Real Madrid as he could not establish himself as a starter at the Bernabeu, leading to several loan spells to Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad, to keep him going.

At Real Sociedad, one of the clubs where he was shipped out on loan, he began to show glimpses of the player he could become.

He would, in 2021, join Arsenal on loan, albeit at a time when Arsene Wenger was no longer at the club.

Speaking to Freddie Ljungberg, Arsene Wenger outlined how he was so desperate to sign the 25-year-old for Arsenal when he was still a teenager.

“Yes, I remember him (Odegaard) very well,” Arsene Wenger said.

“We did fight like mad to get him. I got him in a training session and I remember Steve Morrow brought him into training with his father.”

“He reminded me of Fabregas, good vision, good technical quality, easy with professional players in the first team.”

“You could see something special there but in the end, he has chosen to go to Real Madrid,” Arsene Wenger said.

After initially joining Arsenal on loan in 2021, Martin Odegaard made a permanent switch to the London club. Since then, the Norway captain has established himself as one of the Gunners’ best players, culminating in a captaincy role at Emirates Stadium.

Last year, Martin Odegaard committed to Arsenal when he signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2027.

Speaking after signing his new contract last year, Martin Odegaard said it was not too difficult for him to make the decision to commit his future to Arsenal.

“Signing a new contract was a really easy decision for me for lots of reasons,” he said.

To him, there was something special brewing at the club, something he wanted to be part of.

“Mainly what we are doing right now as a club is special, and I want to be a part of that. I’m really excited for what’s to come here. I’ve found a place where I can be really settled and call my home.”

“My story is a bit different maybe, as I moved around different clubs since I was 16. At Arsenal, since the first day, I’ve felt great and this is definitely my home now.”

“I just want to say thanks to everyone working at the club and of course, our fantastic supporters. I will continue to give everything to bring success to this club in the years to come,” Martin Odegaard said.

With how well things are going for Martin Odegaard at Arsenal at the moment, it is not difficult to see why Arsene Wenger ‘fought like mad’ to sign him for the club when he was in charge.

Arsene Wenger, who managed Arsenal from 1996 to 2018, currently serves as FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development.


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