Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta responds to Martin Odegaard question and plays down Emile Smith Rowe fears

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta responds to Martin Odegaard question and plays down Emile Smith Rowe fears
The Gunners boss does not believe a new arrival will affect Smith Rowe’s development (Pictures: Getty)

Mikel Arteta says he is expecting an update on Arsenal’s progress on a deal for Martin Odegaard and rejected suggestions any new arrival might negatively impact Emile Smith Rowe.

The Gunners are in talks with Real Madrid to bring in the Norwegian playmaker on loan until the end of the season, having been in the market for a new, creative number 10 to bolster their attacking options.

But in recent weeks Smith Rowe has come into the side and performed excellently, with his absence against Southampton in Saturday’s 1-0 FA Cup defeat sorely felt.

Gabriel of Arsenal deflects Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton shot past his goalkeeper Bernd Leno to score an own goal to make it 1-0 during Southampton v Arsenal
Arsenal lacked a spark in the absence of Smith Rowe and others (Picture: Getty Images)

Some fans fear Odegaard’s arrival could hinder Smith Rowe and reduce his game time, but Arteta insists the 20-year-old’s development will not be affected.

Asked how close Odegaard is to joining Arsenal following the club’s FA Cup exit, Arteta said: ‘I don’t know. Obviously we played today, since last night I don’t have any news.

‘Probably I will get a few phone calls today and see where we are with every deal.’

Probed on whether there was a danger that Odegaard’s arrival could get in the way of Smith Rowe’s development, Arteta continued: ‘I cannot talk about any player that is not ours.

‘We have a very clear idea of how we want to develop our players and what they need to do that.

Arsenal target Martin Odegaard Real Sociedad v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander
Odegaard was frozen out by Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid (Picture: Getty Images)

‘And all the decisions we make are just to reinforce that development and try to give them the best possible chance.’

Arteta rested a number of players for Arsenal’s FA Cup clash against Southampton – losing by a solitary own goal from Gabriel – and Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Kieran Tierney and others are expected to come straight back into the starting XI for their repeat clash at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Tuesday.

Odegaard may even be in the Arsenal squad for the rematch, with the north London club believed to be working flat out to bring in the Norwegian as soon as possible.

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