Mikel Arteta opens up on Martin Odegaard ‘lost battle’ after Lionel Messi claim

Arsenal officially confirmed the signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on Wednesday, with the midfielder brought in on loan until the end of the current campaign.

The 22-year-old impressed on loan at Real Sociedad last season but he has struggled for game-time at Madrid, making just nine appearances before joining the Gunners.

Odegaard made his debut for Madrid at the age of 16 and earned comparisons to Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

However, his career has stalled at the Bernabeu after being sent out on loan to Heerenveen, Vitesse Arnhem and Sociedad and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta believes comparisons to Messi were always going to be “a lost battle”.

Arsenal have confirmed the loan signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s game against Manchester United on Saturday, Arteta said: “I wouldn’t even suggest anyone could get close to [Messi] because it’s a lost battle, in my opinion.

“Martin is Martin and I think in the last few seasons he’s progressed and developed in the right way. I’ve followed him very closely because he played for Real Sociedad, which is my hometown.

“I know him really well. I’ve been really impressed. He’s a such a talent. He needs the right environment, he needs a little bit of time but I think he’s got the qualities to be a success for us.

The Norwegian had his first training session with the Gunners since arriving on loan from Real Madrid
The Norwegian has had his first training session with the Gunners since arriving on loan from Real Madrid

“He’s a specialist to play in the pockets, to play in the No 8 or 10 positions. He can play off the sides. He’s a really creative player who’s really comfortable on the ball in tight spaces.

“He has the capacity to create chances and to score goals. Something that he has improved a lot is his work-rate without the ball as well, so it’s another option to give us more creativity for sure in the final third, and give us more options to set up in different ways against certain teams.”

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