Transfer news: Who could be on the move this summer?
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Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard is still Arsenal’s priority target despite the north London club’s interest in James Maddison of Leicester City, according to reports. The Gunners are in the market for attacking reinforcements ahead of next season, with club director Edu aiming to bolster Mikel Arteta’s ranks over the coming weeks and months.
The Arsenal boss will be hoping to build on this season’s eighth-placed finish in the Premier League that saw his side miss out on European qualification for the first time in over 25 years.
The club’s lack of creativity in the middle of the park plagued their efforts during the first half of the campaign, but the addition of Odegaard on loan from Real in January sparked a run of improved form.
He turned plenty of heads with a number of impressive performances for the Gunners, with Arteta particularly enamoured with the midfielder’s deceptively strong leadership qualities and his ability to dictate play on a weekly basis.
Odegaard has been heavily linked with a permanent switch to the Emirates Stadium since the end of the season, with reports suggesting that Arsenal have earmarked the Norway international as a top target.
However, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti is said to be keen on giving him a fresh opportunity to impress at the Bernabeu, which could spell bad news for Arteta and Edu if the Spanish giants refuse to sell at any price.
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The Gunners are also believed to be keeping tabs on Maddison, who has emerged as a potential candidate in recent weeks.
Leicester are reportedly demanding around £51million to part ways with the former Norwich City man, but transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has revealed that Arsenal will only push for his signature if they are unable to complete a move for Odegaard.
“So, first of all, it’s true that there’s interest in this player, and he is appreciated as an alternative if they can’t sign Odegaard,” Romano told the Don Robbie YouTube channel.
“I am told that they are still keen on Odegaard if Real Madrid change their position. At the moment, Madrid are saying they want to keep Odegaard and go on with him, but it’s not the final decision.
“So what I know is that their priority is still Martin Odegaard. If they can’t sign him, Maddison could be one of the opportunities.”
It remains to be seen which direction Edu will go in this summer, with Arsenal needing a quality playmaker to stand any chance of returning to the Premier League’s upper reaches next season.
Gunners legend Ian Wright recently urged his former employers to go all out for Odegaard, suggesting that the former Real Sociedad and Heerenveen loanee could be the missing piece of the jigsaw with regards to Arteta’s project.
“His contract runs out in 2023 with Madrid,” Wright told the Wrighty’s House Podcast in March.
“We’re going through a spell where there’s not a lot of money about. Madrid need money, if Zidane stays there can you see him putting Odegaard in his team?
“You’re thinking to yourself if he carries on playing like he is, because we’re looking at Modric and Kroos and they’re going to have to get replaced by someone at some stage now.
“Whether that’s Odegaard or they might sell Odegaard to finance getting somebody else. When you look at him, this is serious business with Odegaard, this is a player we need, and I don’t know how they’re going to do that.
“For me, I think £45million to £50m, even though we’re talking about someone who’s been on loan to Holland, Spain and now here, he’s played a handful of games but he looks so impressive.”
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