Well, here we are again, mulling over players we’re not sure we have a chance with.
This morning, everyone is thrashing about in the water because the choice is apparently Odegaard vs Maddison.
Now, I still find the idea of James Maddison a bit nuts. £70m plus whatever a player of his calibre earns… feels a bit of a stretch. But what can’t be denied is he’d be an absolute powerhouse of a signing. We’re absolutely awful from dead-ball situations, he delivers massive amounts of chances from setpieces. He’s a brilliant binder on the pitch, he creates chances, progresses the ball well, and last season he started adding more goals to his game. He was the difference between Leicester being in the title-chasing pack, to finishing 5th again.
Now you’ll remember last week.
‘Oooohhhh, bit pricey, right?’
Skip forward to this morning. Martin Odegaard, our primary target at the start of the summer, is apparently going to be fishing for a move back to the carpet for about half the price.
‘He’s shit, no end product’
Now, a few things we need to be a little wary of here… the player loves Real Madrid. There was a moment a few years ago when Cesc Fabregas had the chance to come back to London because Wenger was sniffing around him. Now, I don’t know if I have this perfectly narrated… but United were circling and Wenger didn’t want him to go there. He waited, but in the end, Cesc used our interest to get assurances at Barca, he stayed another year, then moved to Chelsea after we’d secured Mesut Ozil.
Time is running out in the window, we cannot be allowing Martin to rattle the commitment cage, then find ourselves up shit creek without a second creator again.
On the Norwegians talent profile, please, get away from me with ‘he’s no good’ rubbish. That is such a drossy statement.
Things to remind yourself of:
He’s 22 years old. An absolute baby in terms of the position he’s playing. There is still a lot of space for him to grow as a player and a leader. Where was Jack Grealish at that age? In the Championship scoring 5 goals and landing 5 assists with Aston Villa with big questions over whether he had the right mentality to succeed. Where was James Maddison? With Norwich in the Championship about the bang. Where was Serge Gnabry? Bumming around in Premier League 2 about to get moved out of Arsenal to Germany as a massive flop that wasn’t right in the head.
Players get better. Odegaard is a very good player. He’d played about 14 minutes of football in 6 months before he joined the Premier League. It takes time to adapt to a new culture, to a new fitness regime, and a new style of coaching. He still delivered a good showing. 90th percentile for progressive carries, 86th percentile for progressive passes, 96th percentile for passes attempted, and 98th for passes completed… in a totally broken squad.
Give him a system that doesn’t require him to drop so deep to force things to happen with players like Ben White and Lokonga declogging our slow play and aversion to playing through the middle and you have someone that can really find a next level.
It’s also worth referencing his season with Sociedad where he had a better run into a team that wasn’t on its knees like Arsenal were at Christmas.
Odegaard created 62 chances that season when he was 20 years old. Last season, the biggest chance creator in La Liga was Messi with 77. He is so far from average it is painful. If we can’t land Maddison, then we wouldn’t go far wrong with Odegaard. If you want to land a glimpse of what he could offer us next season, rewatch the Brighton game.
Honestly, I cannot fathom some of the chatter that goes on… Maddison is too expensive, let’s unlock European talent. Odegaard? Nah, not enough end product. Pick a lane. You want now talent, it’ll cost £70m, you want to take a chance on talent, it’ll look like Odegaard. Neither player would be a bad option.
Young players get better, especially those adapting from foreign countries. People complaining about our lack of goals seem to forget that up until matchday 14, we scored under a goal a game (0.85 per game), after we added 2 creators (ESR/Odegaard), we were only outscored by United and City (1.79 per game). \
Imagine what both of them could do in a more balanced team with a captain that has his head in the game?
Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments.