Arsenal could land “extraordinary” £51m star who’d help unlock Odegaard

    It might not have ended in a trophy, but Arsenal enjoyed another brilliant season this year.

    Mikel Arteta’s side took the Premier League title race down to the final day and came agonizingly close to making it to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in well over a decade.

    It may not have happened this season, but it feels more like a matter of when rather than if this Arsenal team lifts a major trophy, and when they do, club captain Martin Odegaard will undoubtedly be at the heart of their triumph.

    The Norwegian has more than proven himself to be a capable leader in N5, and the latest player touted for a move to the Emirates could help further unlock his attacking potential.

    Arsenal transfer news

    According to a recent report from journalist Ben Jacobs via GIVEMESPORT, Arsenal are still interested in Real Sociedad’s star midfielder, Martin Zubimendi, and may well “try again” to sign him.


    This is despite Spanish reports late last month claiming the player was unsure about leaving his home country.

    Jacobs does not mention how much the deal might cost the North Londoners, but a report from journalist Graeme Bailey last month claimed the Spaniard has a €60m release clause inserted into his contract, which converts to around £51m.


    It wouldn’t be a cheap deal to get done, and his reservations about leaving Spain are indeed a problem, but Edu Gaspar and Co should be doing all they can to bring the player to North London, as he could help get even more out of Odegaard going forward.

    How Zubimendi could unlock Odegaard

    The main reason why adding Zubimendi to the team would help get more out of Odegaard is that the Spaniard is an out-and-out defensive midfielder who, alongside Declan Rice, would be able to make Arsenal’s already impressive defensive record that much more remarkable.

    Martin Zubimendi for Real Soceidad

    The “extraordinary” six-capped international, as dubbed by Xavi, would start at six with the Englishman in the left-eight role, thus creating an incredibly solid wall. This would allow the Gunners’ mercurial captain to focus more on influencing proceedings at the sharp end of the pitch.

    The former West Ham United captain may have told the BBC that his “best position” is at the base of midfield, but he also revealed that he was “excited to get up the pitch, score goals and drive with the ball.”


    With 19 starts in central midfield this season, he’s proven himself more than capable of playing just in front of a recognised six.

    Moreover, when comparing the pair’s defensive midfield-relevant underlying numbers, the Spaniard comes out slightly ahead, registering more blocks, interceptions, clearances and ball recoveries while winning more aerial duels per 90.

    Zubimendi vs Rice

    Stats per 90






    Tackles Won












    Ball Recoveries



    Aerial Duels Won



    All Stats via FBref for the 23/24 League Season

    This extra solidity behind him would allow the former Real Madrid wonderkid to focus most of his attention ahead of him, as at present, he’s putting more effort into the defensive side of the game than many might realise.

    This can be seen best when comparing his heat map to the heat map of Kevin De Bruyne, the main attacking midfielder in Arsenal’s primary title rival.


    When looking at these two maps, it’s evident that the Norwegian’s attacking output is at least somewhat hampered by the amount of time he spends in his own half, a problem that could be alleviated by this signing.

    Ultimately, this could be a challenging transfer to get over the line, and Odegaard is always going to need to do some defensive work, but if Arteta could set up a midfield three with Zubimendi and Rice as the two defensively minded ball-winning titans in it, he might finally be able to end the club’s two-decade title drought.


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