Arsenal star Martin Odegaard’s coy response to suggestions he could be next captain

Arteta on Arsenal's transfer plans

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Arsenal star Martin Odegaard has offered a coy response to suggestions he could take over as Gunners captain. The north Londoners signed the midfielder from Real Madrid last summer after he impressed during a loan spell last season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started the campaign as Arsenal skipper but was stripped of the honour and banished from the team following a disciplinary breach before Christmas.

The Gabon international was then allowed to terminate his contract early to move to Barcelona in January.

France striker Alexandre Lacazette has taken on the captain’s armband since Aubameyang departed.

But the 30-year-old’s contract at the Emirates Stadium is set to expire at the end of the season and he has been tipped to leave the club.

Boss Mikel Arteta could therefore be on the lookout for a new leader – and Odegaard would surely be a leading candidate.

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But the player has suggested he doesn’t have any immediate plans to push for the honour, although he says it would be “cool” if it happens.

“If it happens one day, of course it’s cool and all that,” Odegaard said. “But it kind of does not change much for me. I’m not going to change as a person if that happens.”

The 23-year-old was named Norway captain a year ago at the tender age of 22.

And Arteta admitted last month that he has spoken to Norway manager Stale Solbakken about the star’s credentials.

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“He certainly has all the qualities to do that, absolutely,” Arteta said when asked if Odegaard could be 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.”

Odegaard has cemented his place as a key part of the Arsenal midfield this season and has racked-up 26 appearances since his permanent move.

And his four Premier League goals and three assists have helped put the north Londoners firmly in contention to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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