Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane reveals conversation with Martin Odegaard before Arsenal loan switch

Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard looks on during Arsenal's Premier League clash with Manchester United
Martin Odegaard completed a loan switch from Real Madrid to Arsenal last month (Picture: Getty)

Zinedine Zidane has revealed he pleaded with Martin Odegaard to remain at Real Madrid for the second half of the season but the Norwegian was intent on pushing through his loan move to Arsenal in order to boost his first-team opportunities.

The Gunners looked to bolster their options in attacking midfield after missing out on a summer deal for Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and were linked with a host of players – including Isco, Emiliano Buendia, Joan Jordan and Marcel Sabitzer – before Odegaard’s arrival this winter.

Odegaard shone on loan at Real Sociedad last term, racking up four goals and six assists across their La Liga campaign, but the 22-year-old struggled for regular playing time after returning to parent club Madrid.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane discussed Martin Odegaard at his press conference on Friday
Real Madrid manager Zidane addressed the media on Friday afternoon

Arsenal wrapped up a temporary agreement with Madrid for Odegaard towards the end of the January transfer window and the Norway international made his debut as a second-half substitute in the side’s goalless draw with Manchester United last weekend.

Mikel Arteta has even hinted at a potential permanent deal for Odegaard down the line but it appears the youngster remains a key part of Zidane’s plans for the future at the Bernabeu.

‘Odegaard wanted to go, he wanted to play,’ the iconic Madrid head coach told reporter on Friday.

‘I wanted him back from his loan [with Real Sociedad] and I told him to stay because the season is still very long and he would have had his chances but he wanted to leave and play.

‘We talked about it two or three times. It was a demand from him.’

Arsenal Training Session
The Norwegian made his Arsenal debut versus Manchester United last weekend (Picture: Getty)

Zidane added: ‘I told him that he should stay to fight for his place.

‘I was the one who wanted him here, but he wanted to go.’

Odegaard was an unused substitute as Arsenal were beaten away to Wolves on Tuesday night and will no doubt be desperate for a place in Arteta’s starting XI at Aston Villa this weekend.

The Gunners, currently sitting tenth in the table, could leapfrog both Villa and bitter rivals Tottenham with three points on Saturday.

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