Arsenal captain, Martin Odegaard, revealed his relationship with “next level” manager Mikel Arteta, as well as his desire to lead the Gunners to “special” things.
In a piece for The Players’ Tribune, the 24-year-old Norwegian skipper explored his journey from Drammen in Norway to Emirates Stadium, via Real Madrid, and why he believes there are “no limits” to the current Arsenal team.
With time on his side, Arteta has built his own Arsenal team. Against all odds, he has put the club in the title picture following back-to-back eighth-placed finishes and brutally missing out on Champions League football, finishing fifth, in his first two-and-a-half seasons.
The Spaniard came under much scrutiny during a turbulent time for the club but has quickly turned the Gunners’ fortunes’ around, something Odegaard believed in from day one and insisted made the group of players “closer, stronger and hungrier” than ever.
“I spoke to Mikel Arteta on a Zoom call and he told me all about the project,” he said when he heard Arsenal were interested in signing him. “At the time, Arsenal were not doing well. They were way down like 15th in the table, but that meeting… Honestly, I challenge anyone to come away from a meeting with Arteta and not believe everything he tells you.
“He is next level. It’s hard to explain. He’s passionate, he’s intense and sometimes, yeah, he’s a bit crazy… but when he speaks, you understand that whatever he says will happen, will happen.
“He told me his plan, everything he was building towards. He knew exactly what needed to change at the club. He told me all about these amazing young players in the squad — [Bukayo] Saka, [Gabriel] Martinelli, [Emile] Smith Rowe, etc., etc. He told me how he wanted me to fit in and how I was going to improve.
“I got this strong feeling that he was onto something really special.”
Arsenal are top of the Premier League table and five points clear of Manchester City with a game in hand.
Man City travel to Emirates Stadium in just over a week, when they will play Arsenal for the first time in the league this season in a highly anticipated matchup.
Odegaard, though, insists his young Arsenal side are taking things one game at a time, and remain grounded in their fight for a first title since 2004.
“We’re in the title race now,” he said. “But there’s a long way to go and, trust me, no one is thinking about May yet.
“It’s a cliche but we are taking it game by game, training session by training session. One piece at a time.
“I will say this, though, if there’s anyone left who still doesn’t fully believe in this team, take it from me: there are no limits on what we can achieve. No one can tell me otherwise.
“I’m so proud to be captain of this club and I feel like I’m going to be here a long time.”
Next up for Arsenal is Brentford on Saturday. They can go eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with a win.