Martin Keown is backing Arsenal’s decision to bring in Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid but, speaking to talkSPORT (22 January, 11.45am), the Gunners legend wonders what this means for Dani Ceballos.
Could one Bernabeu loanee take the place of another in North London?
In truth, probably not.
While Ceballos is at his best in a deep-lying, string-pulling role, Odegaard took La Liga by storm while cutting in from the right wing during a glorious spell at Real Sociedad in 2019/20.
After growing frustrated with his lack of opportunities under Zinedine Zidane, the Guardian reports that the gifted Norwegian wants to leave the Spanish champions on loan again with Arsenal pushing to beat Sociedad to his signature.
While Keown is not surprised to see his former club go all-out for one of Europe’s most naturally creative footballers, his concerns over Ceballos’s future may be slightly misguided.
“I’m assuming Arsenal are all over it. (Odegaard) brings that quality into the midfield. It’s an area Arsenal need to strengthen,” said the three-time Premier League winner.
“Does that mean Ceballos will go? He’s on loan as well. Is he going to get football? Real Madrid may be concerned, he hasn’t played that much so far.”
Given the differing skillsets of the two Real-owned youngsters, there is no reason to think that Odegaard and Ceballos cannot play together in the same starting XI.
Odegaard, who produced seven goals and nine assists last season, is more likely to compete for a place in one of those attacking midfield positions behind Alexandre Lacazette.
In fact, it is probably Nicolas Pepe, rather than Ceballos, who should be concerned. The £72 million record signing is already struggling for starts under Mikel Arteta and, ominously, Odegaard is at his most effective when playing in Pepe’s favoured right-wing role.