Goalscoring opportunities were few and far between on Saturday, with there hope that the Norwegian can add a spark from in behind the strikers
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta expects to hear more on the club’s pursuit of Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard on Saturday, with the Gunners seemingly in dire need of a creative force in midfield after drawing a blank against Southampton in the FA Cup.
The Saints recorded their first victory over Arsenal in the competition on Saturday afternoon, with an early own goal from Gabriel Magalhaes, following Kyle Walker-Peters’ shot, proving the difference between the two sides.
Disappointing performances from high-profile duo Willian and Nicolas Pepe were amongst the topics discussed following the cup exit, but the potential arrival of Odegaard has given fans something to look forward to after another poor display.
“I don’t know, obviously we played today and since last night I don’t have any news,” Arteta said of talks to bring in the Norwegian. “I will probably get a few phone calls today and see where we are with every deal.”
The emergence of Emile Smith Rowe as Arsenal’s go-to playmaker has raised questions as to whether the arrival of 22-year-old Odegaard would stunt the former’s progression, but Arteta insists there is always a clear plan in place for individuals’ development.
“I cannot talk about any player that is not with us,” he said. “We have a very clear idea about how we want to develop our players and what they need to do that. All the decisions we make are to reinforce that development and try to give them the best possible chance.”
Fans may wonder if things would have gone differently had captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made an appearance against the Saints, with the skipper having been dropped from the squad shortly before kick-off.
Arteta said at the time: “He had a personal matter in the last few hours and we had to send him back.”
No further explanation has been offered as to Aubameyang’s absence so far, while Arteta was unable to confirm whether he would be able to rely on one of his star performers for the upcoming clash on Tuesday – another head-to-head with Southampton in the Premier League.
“I don’t know,” the manager said. “He needs to address that issue to see how it evolves. We’re here, we will have to support him. He needs to take the time that is needed because that’s a priority at the moment.”