Martin Odegaard insists it was a “no-brainer” to become the latest Arsenal player to commit his future to the club and is now dreaming of leading his team-mates to trophy success.
The 24-year-old Arsenal skipper has signed a new contract until 2028 as he follows in the footsteps of the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba in extending his Emirates Stadium deal.
Odegaard has been pivotal to the club’s transformation into Premier League title challengers, leading by example with 15 goals and seven assists as the Gunners finished second to Manchester City last term.
He has three goals in six appearances already this season and the club announced on Friday that the reward for such fine form was a new five-year deal.
“It was an easy decision for me. As I said many times, I felt connected and I felt at home here since the first day,” said Odegaard, who initially joined on loan from Real Madrid in January 2021 before making the move permanent that summer.
“Also I was moving around a lot and struggling to really settle down, so I felt like I needed a place to come and settle down and to kind of find a home.
“That’s what I did here and I felt it from the first day, so it was easy for me to commit. I’m also excited for what we’re doing now and for the future, so I’m really happy.”
Asked about several key players signing contract extensions in recent months, the Norway international added: “It just shows what we’re doing as a club. People want to be here as part of the project.
“What we’re doing is really special and the players see what the manager wants to do and how the club is progressing, the connection we now have with the fans.
“I think it’s a no-brainer for the players to be part of that. With so many hungry young players, it’s a great place to be.
“Of course it’s a good thing. You see the players around you want to be a part of what we’re doing and it shows just how connected we are as a team.
“All the players want the same thing, they want to stay for a long time and really fight for the club and win things together. It shows the family feeling we have.”
While Arsenal topped the table for much of last season before ultimately being pipped by City, the need to win major silverware with such a talented squad is clear.
Mikel Arteta won the FA Cup in his first season at the helm and Odegaard knows more is expected of the squad in the coming years.
“I think you can see that now – even though we’re a young team, you can see the quality, the responsibility the players take,” he added.
“Experience is not just about age. It’s also about what you’ve done. I think the young players we have already have a lot of experience. Of course we need to improve all the time.
“But I’m sure with the mentality of all the team, the players, coaching staff, I’m sure we’re just going to get better and better. And I want to be part of that.
“We have a bigger squad with more depth, we can play different ways and we will need the whole squad with so many competitions this season. I’m very confident in what we’re doing.
“Of course I am thinking about it (lifting trophies as Arsenal captain). That is the big dream, the big goal, to win things with the club.
“That’s why I have signed here as well, because I believe we can achieve some great things. That’s the big goal and I am sure if we work hard, we can get to something really nice.”
Arteta expressed his delight at his captain’s new contract ahead of the north London derby against Tottenham on Sunday.
“It’s great news for the club and the team,” Arteta said.
“I’m really happy for him as well and he deserves it, and it just shows that there are many ways to make it.
“At the end it’s about finding a place where you feel comfortable, valued and able to express your talent. I think he’s found that place, he’s respected and loved by everybody and he fully deserves what he’s doing.
“At a very young age he had huge expectations and he made his debut for the national team (Norway) at 15 or 16, and he’s played for five teams in three countries in that period which is a lot for someone to take.
“You are made by the experiences and the journeys that you go through and Martin is the player he is today because of what he went through in the last four or five years. We are really happy he’s found home.”
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