Pep Guardiola responds to Gary Neville claim he would sign Arsenal star

Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard after Gary Neville claimed he would sign the Norway international ‘in a heartbeat’.

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Odegaard has enjoyed an eye-catching start to the new season, scoring three times including the goal which capped a fine performance in midweek as the Gunners thumped PSV Eindhoven 4-0 on their return to the Champions League after a six-year absence.

The 24-year-old has been rewarded for his outstanding contributions with a new long-term contract which has seen him become the north London club’s highest earner.

Several rival clubs were reported to have been monitoring Odegaard’s situation which would have come as no surprise to Neville, who last week claimed the former Real Madrid midfielder was starting to draw comparisons with Manchester City legends Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva.

Responding to Neville’s praise of the Arsenal playmaker, Guardiola said ahead of Saturday’s game against Nottingham Forest: He’s an exceptional player.

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‘He settled really good and he became a captain because on and off the pitch as well. He shows consistency playing a lot of games.

‘He suits perfectly the idea for Mikel from Arsenal. He’s a really, really good player.’

With his future resolved, meanwhile, Odegaard’s immediate focus now will centre on Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham.

Speaking about his decision to commit his future to Arsenal, the Gunners skipper said on Friday: ‘My story has been a bit different.

‘I moved when I was 16 and then changed teams here and there on loan, so for me it’s been a key thing to find a place where I could really settle down.

‘I’ve felt at home here since the first day; I just felt great. This is definitely my home, I’m so happy to be here and to sign a new deal.’

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