Mikel Arteta says choosing Martin Odegaard as Arsenal’s new captain was “the right call”.
The Norwegian hasn’t been a Gunner for long – he signed last summer having spent six months on loan – but it hasn’t taken long for him to make a big impression on the boss.
Facing the media after the 6-0 win over Sevilla in the Emirates Cup, Arteta said: “What I’ve seen over the past 18 months since he’s been with us, he’s represented the values of this football club, the team, the teammates and the staff in the best possible way.
“He’s displayed an ambition to take this club to a different level, to push this team and contribute within it, and as well the way he is respected by everyone inside the organisation.
“He’s also the captain of his national team and I think it was the right call, and I’m proud to announce that because I think he’s a really good person to deliver that commitment to the club.”
Both midfielders with stints at Real Sociedad on their CV, not to mention a shared experience of leaving their homeland at a young age to pursue their football dreams, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Arteta and Odegaard have hit it off.
Having watched Odegaard forge a promising partnership with new signing Gabriel Jesus – the Brazilian kept up his promising pre-season form with a hat-trick against Sevilla – Arteta also praised the Norway captain’s footballing ability.
“I think he makes Gabby better and he needs a threat in front of him because he’s a player that can find the last pass at any moment.
“When he’s in close or open spaces, we need someone to make him look better and I think the connection is already there and with the wingers too.”
Arsenal start the new season on Friday against Crystal Palace. By and large, the vibes coming out of the camp are positive. Why wouldn’t they be? Aside from a slip-up against Brentford in a behind-closed-doors friendly earlier in the week, we’ve won all the games and scored plenty of goals.
Asked if he’s pleased with his side’s summer, Arteta said: “I am. We had a mixture of spending time here in London and being away, and we have played competitive matches against very different opponents and formations and ways of playing and behaviours from teams.
“We have had different conditions as well, we were in Germany and we had to acclimatise with the weather there, and we went to the US and it was the same, now we play with different context and atmosphere as well, so in general I feel like the team is prepared. The ball is going to start rolling on Friday night and it will be a different story.”