Martin Odegaard has handed Mikel Arteta a potential transfer boost after hinting that he hopes to remain at Arsenal beyond his loan spell.
The Real Madrid midfielder scored his first goal for the Gunners after making the temporary switch in January, firing in a stunning long-range effort to open the scoring in the 3-1 Europa League last 16 first leg victory over Olympiacos.
Speaking afterwards, Odegaard discussed how much he felt at ‘home’ at Arsenal, and even suggested he has one eye on next season.
“I wanted to get a shot on goal, luckily I had a good hit and it went in,” he told BT Sport.
“I have felt at home since the first day, I am happy to be here and feel great.
“It is just half time. We have to keep going. We have a big game on Saturday and then have to be ready for next Thursday.
“It is very important, we are not where we want to be in the league so this is very important for us and a chance to get Champions League football next year.”
Odegaard gave Arteta’s side a first half lead in Greece but a Bernd Leno error after the break allowed Youssef El-Arabi to level the scores.
A powerful header from Gabriel Magalhaes restored Arsenal’s advantage before substitute Mohamed Elneny fired in from distance to give the Gunners a two-goal cushion ahead of next week’s return fixture at the Emirates.
Winning the tournament would signal a return to the Champions League, a competition Arsenal haven’e featured in since 2017.
Avoiding defeat in the second leg in north London will put the Gunners through to the last eight and a step closer to that goal.
“It is a big win for us,” Odegaard added “A great result with three goals away from home and win in this competition is always good.
“The mentality in this team is great. Very pleased with everything. We showed the spirit in the team and the way we back each other. If one player makes a mistake then we react. That is what it is about, being a team. When one player makes a mistake you have to strike back as a team.”