ARSENAL are closing in on a £2million loan deal for Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard after signing Brighton keeper Mat Ryan as a back-up to Bernd Leno.
Negotiations over a six-month deal for Norwegian international Odegaard are continuing despite Real boss Zinedine Zidane going down with Covid yesterday (Friday).
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder has been lined up by Mikel Arteta to provide Arsenal competition for Emile Smith Rowe following Mesut Ozil’s move to Fenerbahce.
Odegaard became the youngest international player in his country’s history when he was first capped at just 15-years-old and a year later was signed by Real from Stromsgodset for around £5million.
But he has never been able to establish himself at the Bernabeu following loan spells at Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad.
Now he has told Zidane that he wants to go out again this month to gain regular first team football.
And while Sociedad are keen to take him back, it is Arsenal who are now leading the chase.
The Gunners have already paid the Spanish Champions a £4million loan fee for Dani Ceballos and are expected to pay around half that figure to get Odegaard.
But there will be no clause to make the deal permanent and Real are wary of allowing the young number ten to leave on the cheap after being embarrassed by the success of James Rodriguez after they allowed him to join Everton on a free transfer.
Arsenal have already announced the surprise signing of Australian international Ryan, who was Brighton’s first choice keeper until a month ago.
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The 28-year-old has joined on loan for the rest of the season and could even be on the bench for the FA Cup fourth round tie at Southampton.
Ryan’s arrival means there will be no place in the squad for Alex Runarsson, who was only signed as back-up keeper in September.
Arsenal have only freed up room for one new foreign signing after allowing Sead Kolasinac to join Schalke on loan.
But with Ryan and Odegaard both set to be registered at the end of the month, Runarsson is expected to be allowed to go out on loan.
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