I’m really excited to welcome Martin Ødegaard back to Arsenal as our new number 8, this time on a permanent basis. I’ve got Bergkamp vibes about the signing, and I think he is quite possibly a future captain and future legend material. What’s going to be really transformational for him personally, is that for the first time since he transferred to Real Madrid aged 15, he’s got a permanent home and he’s going to feel wanted, important and loved by his club. This will transfer to his performance on the pitch in the same way that it did for some of the biggest players in the club’s history.
We picked up Bergkamp, Henry, Overmars, Vieira, Kanu to name but a few, from disastrous spells with their former clubs. They were not being used regularly, if at all but mainly they were broken, low on confidence, written off (Overmars had suffered not one but two cruciate injuries, Kanu had a hole in the heart). Bergkamp was a supposed failure at Inter Milan. He was a supreme player, in the similar role as Ødegaard will be tasked with. He was classed as a forward, but he was more of a ten, the conductor of the team. He was the oil in our attack engine, he made us tick like our engine had been remapped. Once Ødegaard has his match fitness and is settled back playing with ESR, Saka, Pepe, Martinelli and Aubamayang, all of them supreme talents as well all around him, and Partey and Lakonga behind him, and Ben White also bringing him the ball or pinging it to his feet, he too has the talent to be our top conductor, our V8 engine’s Castrol GTX.
He’s definitely got a lot more goals in him, not like a Bergkamp maybe (who knows in the future) but we’ve not bought him as a 20 goal player, but he’s definitely a double digit goalscorer and assister in the future, that I have no doubt about. The price is a total steel as well for someone who could be with us for another decade and grow with those other players around him who are even younger.We have an awful lot to get excited about over the next few seasons if we can keep this young, exciting crop of players together. We should feel very lucky to have been able to get one of the best young (maybe forgotten about and written off) talents in Europe to join us at this stage in our history. I think we have a player who can help us rewrite the future of the club.