Mikel Arteta believes Martin Odegaard makes his Arsenal teammates ‘better’ following the midfielder’s latest impressive performance for the Gunners.
Odegaard produced a superb display as Arsenal beat Leicester 2-0 at the Emirates on Sunday, with the 23-year-old creating a game-leading six chances and covering more distance (11.4km) than any other player on the pitch.
The Norway international has grown in influence since completing a permanent move from Real Madrid last summer and Arteta was full of praise for Odegaard’s development this season.
“He was terrific again today, in every aspect of the game; what he had to do in defending, when we were high and deep; in build-up phases; in the final third, the way he understood and managed the game when he was needed,” Arteta said to Sky Sports following the win over Leicester.
“He’s come a long way since his arrival, he is showing great maturity and responsibility on the pitch and he makes the other players better, I think.”
Odegaard spent the second half of last season on loan at Arsenal, before completing a permanent move in a deal worth around £30m.
The midfielder endured a slow start to the season before growing in importance, with Arsenal having won nine of their last 11 league games to move into the Premier League’s top four.
Arteta said it was ‘a bit early’ to declare Odegaard’s fee a bargain but says he has been delighted with the progress the summer signing has made this season.
“I don’t know, it’s still a bit early to say that,” Arteta said when asked if Odegaard’s fee was a bargain.
“We were certainly convinced he was a player that could fit in our clubs, in with our morals. He has every value that we want players to represent this club, and then he has the quality for what we want to do. We are really happy with him.”