Martin Odegaard award fails to change key Arsenal transfer mission that must not be ignored

Martin Odegaard has won the Arsenal Player of the Season
-Credit: (Image: Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Martin Odegaard has been named as Arsenal’s player of the season for the second year running having picked up the award in a second successive title challenge campaign. The Norwegian international and club captain scored eleven goals and recorded eleven assists across all competitions in a total of 48 games which matched his 22 goal contributions from last season.

Finishing above William Saliba and Declan Rice, Odegaard led the side with dominant performances and built on the success of the previous campaign. Even though he picked up the accolade last season, he was able to improve on key areas which were scrutinised as the title challenge stumbled with several games to go as opposed to helping the side take it to the final day this time around.

He stepped up with top performances in big games against the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool. His partnership with Bukayo Saka grew stronger and when Kai Havertz moved into the centre-forward role the pair blossomed in their own combinations.

The success of Odegaard however brings with it questions and ones which both manager Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu need to answer. Odegaard missed the trip to Newcastle United due to a combination of both a concussion and a hip injury, a game which the Gunners lost painfully and controversially to the Magpies.

To the relief of the side, this was the only small spell out of the team and Arsenal managed wins over Sheffield United and Burnley without him. However, the three points dropped in the northeast were ultimately the difference between winning and losing the title as they finished just two points behind Man City.

Arsenal have two options in reserve for Odegaard’s absence in the form of Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira. However, at Newcastle Smith Rowe was injured and Kai Havertz was instead preferred for the attacking midfield slot over Vieira who came on later as an ineffective substitute.

READ MORE: Arsenal summer transfer priority revealed as Edu and Mikel Arteta face Benjamin Sesko reality

READ MORE: Declan Rice helps Mikel Arteta make perfect Arsenal midfield transfer call amid key challenge

If Arteta no longer sees either of these two as viable replacements for Odegaard then the market must be the solution. There is of course potential from within the club but the 17-year-old Ethan Nwaneri remains a risk when giving him the ladder to step into the senior side.

That said, many believe he is indeed ready to make that step having conquered the under-21s level and impressed with England’s under-17s this summer too. Yet it remains a lot of faith to be put into a teenager and the market does remain an option should Arsenal aim to explore potential alternatives.

To come full circle, however, Odegaard’s appreciation by supporters should not be understated considering he joined the club on an initial six-month loan deal and did not win over the vast majority of fans in that time. However Arteta and the club were convinced and in one of the best £32million sums the club has ever spent, they have locked in a now-world-class player for the foreseeable future.