HomeArsenal director Edu suggests Real Madrid lacked patience with Odegaard

Arsenal director Edu suggests Real Madrid lacked patience with Odegaard

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Arsenal star Martin Odegaard was not shown enough patience by Real Madrid earlier in his career, according to the Gunners’ sporting director Edu.

Odegaard was viewed as a future Madrid star in the making when he joined Los Blancos from Norwegian side Stromsgodset as a 16-year-old in January 2015.

However, the creative midfielder found gametime hard to come by at the Santiago Bernabeu, never making more than five starts for Madrid in a single season and being sent on loan to Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad before joining Arsenal on an initial loan-to-buy deal in 2021.

Odegaard has certainly made good on his promise since making his stay at the Emirates Stadium a permanent one later that year, becoming a mainstay in Mikel Arteta’s team and being handed the captain’s armband last year.

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Speaking at Tuttosport’s Golden Boy awards ceremony, where he was presented with a prize for best director, Edu said: “There are players who work well on one team and poorly on another.

“It depends on good moments, their opportunities… our strategy is and was to sign young players, and he fit. He came in on loan and then we decided to buy him.

“We had been following Martin for many years and perhaps we had the patience that others did not. Now he is one of our captains, enjoying himself, and is one of the recognisable faces of our team.”

Odegaard scored 15 goals and added seven assists in 37 Premier League appearances last season, while he netted his fourth league goal of this campaign with a pinpoint finish as Arsenal beat Wolves 2-1 on Saturday.

 

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While things may not have worked out for Odegaard in Madrid, Los Blancos acquired their own elite midfielder in June when they signed Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth up to €133.9million.

Bellingham took this year’s Golden Boy award after making a brilliant start to life in Spain, scoring 15 goals and adding four assists in just 17 appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s team.

Asked how far Bellingham can go, Edu said: “You could already see in the Bundesliga that with his potential, he could go very far.

“But when he arrives at Madrid and you start to see what he is doing, you realise that he is something special, different.

“Now you have to enjoy when you see him playing. We must congratulate Real Madrid and him for the great season he is having. Football is happy to have players like him. His presence is great news.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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