Everybody loves him – Arteta hints Martin Odegaard could be next Arsenal captain

Arsenal v Manchester United – Premier League – Emirates Stadium
(Image credit: Sean Botterill)

Mikel Arteta has hinted that Martin Odegaard could be the next permanent Arsenal captain after hailing the determination of the Norway international.

Odegaard has become an increasingly important player for the Gunners as they aim to end a five-year Champions League exile.

The 23-year-old impressed once again as Arsenal beat Brentford 2-1 on Saturday afternoon to keep pace with the Premier League top-four race.

Having spent the second half of last season on loan at the Emirates Stadium, Odegaard joined on a permanent deal from Real Madrid in the summer and has since scored four goals and provided the same number of assists.

“We had a period with him where we could evaluate what Martin could bring to the club,” Arteta explained.

“We had no doubts. The club was brilliant to secure him in a really convincing way. Martin was really happy to join us because he had a really good time, he felt valued, he enjoyed what we are doing, he got a really good connection with the players and the supporters.

“He wanted to be part of the project. Since then he is getting better and better, and I am not surprised.

“The way he lives his profession, the way he likes to play football and everything he does is to become better.

“He has still a big margin. He wants it probably more than anyone else on that pitch, every single day. He will be top, top.”

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving in January, Arteta is yet to appoint a permanent successor as Arsenal skipper.

Alexandre Lacazette is currently sporting the armband but Odegaard is the captain of his country and Arteta revealed he has spoken to Norway boss Stale Solbakken about his credentials.

“He certainly has all the qualities to do that, absolutely,” Arteta replied when asked if he saw Odegaard as a potential captain.

“Talking to his national team coach and how highly they speak of him. He walks through the corridor and everybody loves him.

“He is such a nice, humble guy and he leads with the way he is. It is very natural for him and that will come.

“He generated expectations when he was 16 as well. Everybody wanted him. And then he had to fulfil that in a club like Madrid where the competition is like it is.

“It is extremely difficult but now he has found his place. He is really happy here, he has the environment.

“He has the people, he has the time on the pitch to enjoy it and I think that is what he is doing.”

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