Mikel Arteta backs Arsenal star Martin Odegaard to become club captain


Nottingham Forest v Arsenal: The Emirates FA Cup Third Round

Martin Odegaard is being tipped to become Arsenal skipper (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says Martin Odegaard has ‘all the qualities’ to one day become the Gunners’ captain.

Alexandre Lacazette is currently wearing the armband after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure in January to Barcelona but he’s out of contract at the end of the season, when the Gunners are expected to name a new skipper.

The likes of Kieran Tierney and Ben White have been tipped to battle it out for the armband but Odegaard already skippers Norway and he’s an increasingly influential voice in the dressing room.

And Arteta says the playmaker has all the qualities to one day skipper Arsenal.

Odegaard already captains Norway (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

‘He certainly has all the qualities to do that, absolutely,’ said Arteta.

‘Talking to his national team coach and how highly they speak of him. He walks through the corridor and everybody loves him.

‘He is such a nice, humble guy and he leads with the way he is. It is very natural for him and that will come.’

Odegaard spent the second half of last season on loan at the Emirates before making a £30m permanent move to the club last summer.

It was touch and go for a period whether Arsenal would get a deal over the line, with the Gunners making a move for Leicester City’s James Maddison as a contingency.

But Arteta says Odegaard was always keen to join the club and that he is getting ‘better and better’.

‘Well we had a period with him where we could evaluate what Martin could bring to the club,’ said Arteta.

‘We had no doubts. The club was brilliant to secure him in a really convincing way. Martin was really happy to join us because he had a really good time, he felt valued, he enjoyed what we are doing, he got a really good connection with the players and the supporters.

‘He wanted to be part of the project. Since then he is getting better and better, and I am not surprised.

‘The way he lives his profession, the way he likes to play football and everything he does is to become better. He has still a big margin. He wants it probably more than anyone else on that pitch, every single day. He will be top top.

‘He generated expectations when he was 16 as well. Everybody wanted him. And then he had to fulfil that in a club like Madrid, where the competition is like it is. It is extremely difficult but now he has found his place.

‘He is really happy here, he has the environment. He has the people, he has the time on the pitch to enjoy it and I think that is what he is doing.’

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