Mikel Arteta says he’s optimistic that Arsenal will tie down Martin Odegaard to a new contract.
The Norway international is thought to be on the verge of agreeing to lucrative new terms that will see him extend his stay at Emirates Stadium beyond his current contract which ends in 2025.
Signed from Real Madrid after a promising six-month loan spell, the 24-year-old has become the fulcrum of Arsenal’s attacking play under Arteta who also elevated the player to club captain.
“He’s our captain, he’s a massive player for us and a really important player for us now and for the future,” said Arteta in his pre-Everton press conference.
“We’re extremely happy to have him and we want to keep him here for a long time.
“I’m always optimistic [in contract talks] and we have a really good relation with him, with his agent.
“We are really close to them and whenever that’s confirmed we will announce it.”
Last week, France Football revealed that Odegaard and Bukayo Saka had been shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or following a year of eye-catching performances for the Gunners.
Yesterday, new signing Declan Rice had his moment in the spotlight with inclusion on FIFA’s 12-man list for The Best Men’s Player award.
Rice is nominated after helping West Ham to UEFA Conference League glory and for his efforts in midfield for England. Judging by his start to life at Emirates Stadium, he’s making light work of the £100 million price tag Arsenal paid.
Asked about Rice’s first few months at the club, Arteta said: “Obviously you always hope that that transition is going to be smooth and fast but then sometimes the reality is very different.
“In his case I think he’s been really positive. I think he’s finding it really easy. He understood the team, our way of playing really, really fast and I think it’s going well for him.”