Edu identifies Martin Odegaard alternative as Arsenal handed £40m incentive to complete transfer

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A busy summer lies ahead for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu.

The pair are going to be responsible for overseeing one of the club’s busiest summer rebuild projects in recent memory, with Arteta determined to make big changes to his squad to make them more competitive on all fronts next season.

Although last night’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, which was secured thanks to dramatic late goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe, kept Arsenal in the hunt for a UEFA Europa Conference League spot for next season, this campaign has been a disaster on so many fronts.

After winning the FA Cup at the end of last season and winning the FA Community Shield ahead of this term getting underway, many expected the Gunners to make significant progress in the Premier League in Arteta’s first full season in charge.

That, though, has not proven to be the case, with a below-par first half of the campaign all-but-ending any hopes of of getting into either the Champions League or Europa League next season. As well as that, Arsenal exited the FA Cup at the fourth round stage to Southampton and the Europa League semi-final defeat to Villarreal two weeks ago did not help.

In the league, however, things have certainly been better in the second half of this season, with the January addition of Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid having played a key role in Gunners’ upturn in form.

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His performances have already led Arteta into identifying him as the player who could be the one to solve the club’s long-term problem in the attacking-midfield position. But with his Real Madrid future yet to be decided, Zinedine Zidane’s future at the Bernabeu currently up in the air and Arsenal’s transfer budget dependent on player sales, signing Odegaard could require numerous factors to fall into place, as well as patience.

With that said, Arsenal are poised to switch their focus to elsewhere. According to a report by Goal, the club have stepped up their interest in Norwich City starlet Emiliano Buendia.

Buendia is a player Arsenal have been long-term admirers of and would be keen to add him to the squad this summer if they were unsuccessful in their efforts to land Odegaard. It is claimed that the Gunners’ interest in the Argentine is growing, although they are yet to make a bid.

Buendia is valued at around £40million by Norwich, who secured promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking earlier this month, and is considered as their star asset.

But while they would, understandably, love to keep hold of him for their return to the Premier League, Canaries sporting director Stuart Webber recently admitted that the club may be forced into selling some of their key players to fund transfers for new arrivals, with the Norfolk-based club likely to want to improve on their recruitment after what happened in 2019/20.

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Webber, speaking earlier this month, told BBC Look East: “One of them may go, maybe two or all three of them will go, who knows – but the facts are that this team isn’t about one or two players.

“For us to be successful in the Premier League it’s going to be how does the squad of 20 do, not if one player performs brilliantly.

“When we sold James Maddison [to Leicester] everyone thought it was the end of the world and then a guy called Emi Buendia turned up – when Ben Godfrey left [for Everton] it was the end of the world and a guy called Ben Gibson turned up, and that’s football.”

With that in mind, Norwich have a similar approach to Brentford, who have made a name for themselves by unearthing hidden gems, developing them and selling them on for a profit. That is exactly what Norwich have done, as Webber outlined, with the likes of Leicester ace Maddison.

Buendia would add a sense of skill and swagger to Arsenal’s attacking options if they were to get a deal over the line this summer, with the Argentine, who can play out wide or through the middle, having made a name for himself with his technical ability this term.

This season, Buendia, who won the Championship player of the season award, netted 15 goals and claimed 17 assists in just 39 appearances.

Source by Football London

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