Martin Odegaard has the talent to cut it in the Premier League but Arsenal‘s six-month loan deal is “a risk” reckons former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell. Mikel Arteta is closing in on a temporary agreement with Real Madrid to strengthen Arsenal’s options in the creative department.
Emile Smith Rowe has flourished for the north London club of late with three assists in six Premier League matches since coming into the team against Chelsea.
During that time, Arsenal have won four of five matches, drawing the other, while scoring 11 top-flight goals.
They had not won as many games in their previous 14 league outings and had only scored 12 goals over the same stretch with the pressure having begun to pile on Arteta before their turnaround.
There have been concerns that the signing of Odegaard may restrict Smith Rowe’s game time even though he has performed excellently of late.
But Campbell believes Odegaard’s arrival from the Spanish capital will help to ease the burden on 20-year-old academy graduate to be the team’s creator in chief and prevent him being burned out by playing every game.
Speaking to Metro, ex-Arsenal forward Campbell said: “We’ve got enough experience in the squad to last a lifetime, we need to bring that age group down within the squad.
“Odegaard was on loan for the last season with Real Sociedad and did really well, went back to his parent club in Real Madrid and it hasn’t quite worked out for him.
“You’re thinking to yourself the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, they’re going to start to hit the buffers but Modric has been unbelievable this season, Kroos is still a world-class player.
“So he’s found chances limited. He’s not the type of kid who wants to just sit around, he wants to play, he’s a very talented player.
“It is a risk because I don’t know how he would react to playing in the Premier League but one thing I do know is he’s got the talent.”
Campbell added of Croydon-born attacking midfielder Smith Rowe: “The fact that Smith Rowe has done great is a bonus, but you can’t build on the fact that the kid’s played a handful of games and is 20 years old.
“He’s going to hit the buffers at some stage, we don’t want him to. But the fact of the matter is when you look at the Crystal Palace game for instance, Smith Rowe wasn’t as effective as he could be.
“But that’s down to the way the opposition play. If you’re going to get somebody a bit more experienced, they’ve got a little bit more know-how on how to unlock a defence.
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“The key is to get flexible midfield players in, who can do different things. So maybe another midfielder with a Smith Rowe and a [Thomas] Partey makes a difference.
“It’s not necessarily Smith Rowe in or out, I think Arsenal need to revamp that midfield.”
Arsenal missed Smith Rowe against Southampton on Saturday with the midfielder absent from the squad for the FA Cup fourth-round tie at St Mary’s, which was decided by a Gabriel Magalhaes own goal.
Asked about Odegaard after Arsenal’s loss to Southampton on Saturday afternoon, Arteta said: “I don’t know. Obviously we played today, so since last night I don’t have any news.
“Probably, I will get a few phone calls today and see where we are with every deal.
“I cannot talk about any player who is not ours. We have a very clear idea of how we want our players to develop and what they need to do that.
“All the decision we make are just to reinforce their development and try to give them the best possible chance.”