The door to a longer stay at Arsenal was opened by Martin Odegaard.

In January, the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder arrived on a temporary deal until the end of the season.

Norway’s 22-year-old international Odegaard chose to move to North London ahead of rival interests, including a return to Real Sociedad, where he shone during the 2019-20 season.

But Los Blancos refused to negotiate any kind of option in the deal to allow Arsenal to make its signing permanent this summer, with Real Madrid still seeing the playmaker as part of its long-term plans.

As such, it was assumed that at the end of the season, Odegaard would return to the Spanish capital to fight for his place under Zinedine Zidane, with a continuous overhaul of an aging midfield in Madrid set to gather pace.

In landing Odegaard, however, Arsenal chiefs hoped that there could be a situation where he is pushing to stay at the Emirates this summer, transforming his sixth loan spell into a permanent deal.

In a new-look attacking midfield trio alongside Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, behind Club Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Odegaard was handed his first Arsenal start at the weekend.

And after the 4-2 win over Leeds, Odegaard opened the door in the summer to stay with Mikel Arteta’s men.

Asked specifically if he’d come back to Real Madrid this summer, he told Norway’s TV2: “You never know what’s going to happen.”

“But I’m just concentrating on doing my best this season for now and helping the team as much as I can.”

Odegaard has already revealed that at Arsenal, where he has linked up with another Madrid outcast, Dani Ceballos, he feels “really comfortable.”

Ceballos is in North London on his second season-long loan and both men have decisions to make about their long-term futures in the summer.

Arteta acknowledged his delight in the weekend display of Odegaard, declaring: “Great credit to him for playing his first Premier League start against Leeds, after not playing a lot of football in the past three months.”

“It was wonderful to run the way he did, how comfortable and creative he was on the ball, and the character he showed in the game.”


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