Arsenal: Arteta pleased despite defeat to Aston Villa
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Arsenal reportedly failed with a loan move for Barcelona youngster Riqui Puig before they secured the capture of Martin Odegaard until the end of the season. Mikel Arteta was desperate to add more productivity to his midfield ranks in January, as his two strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggled for goals.
Mesut Ozil was finally offloaded as the club reached a mutual termination of his contract before he moved on to Fenerbahce.
There were a host of names on Arsenal’s radar, including Norwich City’s Emi Buendia, who was keen on the switch to north London.
But the Canaries were not willing to reduce their valuation of the Argentine, as Arsenal explored other avenues.
Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Brandt was among the names discussed by Edu and the Gunners hierarchy but the attacker eventually stayed with the Bundesliga giants.
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It’s now emerged that the was one surprise name on Arsenal’s shortlist, in the form of Barcelona’s Puig.
According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, a move was considered but the La Liga giants held firm.
“Let’s go back to the Premier League and let’s reveal the behind the scenes of the past transfer window between two clubs, one is Barcelona and one is Arsenal.” Francesco Porzio, Romano’s co-host, said.
Before Romano added: “At the start of the window Arsenal were seriously trying to sign Riqui Puig on loan with a buy option, in a similar deal as Odegaard, also with Riqui Puig at Barcelona.
“Barcelona said let’s see with Koeman, if he wants to keep the player if he wants to play, let’s wait some weeks. Then in the middle of January they said no, Riqui Puig is not moving, we are keeping him.”
Puig has mainly been a bit-part player for Barcelona this season but Koeman is a fan of the youngster, who is slowly receiving
In the end, Odegaard arrived from Real Madrid on loan until the end of the season.
The Norwegian has featured just twice in an Arsenal shirt since making the move as he looks to build up his fitness.
Arsenal have no permanent option in the deal but would be open to extending his stay should he impress in his new colours.
Opportunities are expected to materialise in the coming weeks and Odegaard could receive his first start against Leeds next time out.
He’s a player that Arteta was personally keen on signing and he arranged talks with Odegaard ahead of the move, in a bid to convince him to join.
Odegaard was initially heading for Real Sociedad before Arteta’s intervention and now the Spaniard is looking to get the best from the attacking midfielder, who has a point to prove to his parent club Real Madrid.
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