Norway international Martin Odegaard dealt a huge blow to Arsenal’s hopes of signing him on a permanent deal after heaping praise on new Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Odegaard arrived in North London as a January loanee from Madrid to solve the Gunners’ creative deficit in midfield and went on to feature 20 times in an underwhelming season.
Mikel Arteta and Edu had still been hopeful of signing the 22-year-old on a permanent deal despite the club listing the playmaker as one of nine set to leave this month.
It is now increasingly likely that Odegaard will stay at Madrid after talking up Ancelotti’s return to Los Blancos, the man who handed him his Bernabeu debut in 2015.
Speaking to TV 2 Sporten, the midfielder said: “It is a coach I know and with whom I had a good relationship when he was last there. In that sense, it is positive.
“But beyond that, one day has passed, so I do not know too much about what he thinks about things.”
Arteta is likely to lose out on two midfielders, with both Odegaard and fellow Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos, 24, set to stay in Spain.
The Gunners boss had previously praised Odegaard’s contributions to the side.
Speaking on the final day of the season, Arteta said: “We have a very clear and strong opinion on what we would like to do.
“He’s not our player. We’ll have discussions in the next few weeks, but first of all we need to respect that he’s a Real Madrid player.
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“We’ll have those communications. We’ve tried to make everything that we could to get Martin performing for the team, which I think he’s done.
“He has adapted really well to our way of playing and to our football. Hopefully we have given him the hope and the feeling this could be a good place for him.
“[Whether Odegaard will stay?] I don’t know. It’s not in our hands, I don’t know.”
Along with their pursuit of Odegaard, Arsenal have consistently been linked with the likes of Houssem Aouar and Norwich’s Emiliano Buendia as they look to creep back into the European spots.
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