Arsenal only made move for Martin Odegaard after approach for Barcelona midfielder was rejected

Arsenal only signed Martin Odegaard after being rejected by Barcelona midfielder
The Norwegian was brought in on loan until the end of the season (Picture: Getty Images)

Martin Odegaard was not Arsenal’s first-choice target to fill the number 10 role with the Gunners only approaching Real Madrid after being rebuffed by Barcelona, according to reports.

The north London club were eager to bring in more creativity in the January window – particularly with Mesut Ozil having left – and eventually managed to sign Odegaard on loan until the end of the season.

However, Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano has revealed on his Here We Go podcast that Arsenal originally had their eye on a different La Liga playmaker: Barca’s Riqui Puiq.

Riqui Puig FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Puig has started to feature more regularly after barely playing earlier this season (Getty)

The Gunners approached Barca about a possible deal for a player who, until that point, had not started a single match in La Liga and the Catalan club were open to doing a deal.

However, they left the decision up to manager Ronald Koeman and he was reluctant to let Puiq leave, having decided to begin reintegrating him into the first team.

After making just one substitute appearance in the first 15 games of the Liga season, Puig has now played in four of Barcelona’s last seven league matches and scored against Elche.

The player himself has always been reluctant to leave Camp Nou, even on loan, and was not tempted by Arsenal’s interest – particularly with his manager starting to show faith in him for the first time.

Barca informed Arsenal midway through January that Puig would not be leaving, with the Gunners then switching their attention to trying to sign Odegaard.

Elche CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Puig even came off the bench to net against Elche at the end of January (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal had proposed a loan deal with a buy option for Puig, which Barca had initially appeared open to, but they could not manage to persuade Real to include a buy option in the deal for Odegaard, who is expected to return to the Bernabeu in the summer.

Odegaard is yet to start for Arsenal, making two brief cameos off the bench against Manchester United and Aston Villa, but he is likely to be giving a spot in the starting XI in the coming days, either against Leeds United in the Premier League or Benfica in the Europa League.

MORE : Arsenal legend David Seaman accuses Mikel Arteta of playing a ‘dangerous game’

MORE : Real Madrid set price for Arsenal to sign loanee Dani Ceballos

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

No comments