Norway international Martin Odegaard made 20 appearances for Arsenal during the second half of last season; Odegaard joins for an initial £30m plus bonuses; watch Arsenal vs Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 4pm
Arsenal have completed the signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on a permanent deal.
The Norway international, who joins for an initial £30m plus bonuses worth around £4m, was in London on Wednesday undergoing a medical after the two clubs reached an agreement.
The 22-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan with the Gunners after failing to break into the Real Madrid team under Zinedine Zidane, and now returns to the Emirates Stadium on a five-year deal.
He made 20 appearances across all competitions, with one of his two goals coming in the north London derby win over Tottenham in March.
Asked what the 22-year-old will add to his squad, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: “A lot of things that he brought last season. He made us better, we needed more options and alternatives for creativity.
“He is still a really young man but he has huge experiences in clubs already and has unique talents for the way we want to play so I am really pleased the club have made the effort.”
Odegaard made his professional debut for Norwegian side Stromsgodset in 2014 as a 15-year-old.
He moved to Real Madrid in 2015 and went on to become their youngest ever player, while he also achieved the same feat for Norway.
However, he struggled for first-team football at Real and was sent on loan to Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad before joining Arsenal.
In six years at the Bernabeu, Odegaard made just 11 appearances for Real Madrid’s first team, and he was not part of new manager Carlo Ancelotti’s plans this season.
Arsenal are also close to completing a £24m deal for Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, with Arteta saying: “There is still some paperwork but his medical is done, still a few things to sort with Sheffield.”
The fee for the 23-year-old could rise by another £6m in add-ons depending on whether he becomes the Gunners’ long-term No 1.
Ramsdale has been on boss Mikel Arteta’s radar this summer, having originally joined Sheffield United from Bournemouth in 2020.
The Cherries are entitled to a 15-per-cent sell-on fee of anything over £19m.
Ramsdale’s arrival at the Emirates would likely see back-up goalkeeper Alex Runarsson allowed to leave the club.
Ramsdale, capped at U18 to U21 level by England, re-joined Sheffield United last summer in an £18.5m deal from relegated Bournemouth.
He was Sheffield United’s player of the season despite their relegation last term and the same was the case in his final season at Bournemouth in 2019/20.
Ramsdale was part of England’s Euro 2020 squad which reached the final, but is yet to make his full international debut.
Paul Merson criticised Arsenal’s recruitment under technical director Edu in his latest column after their season got off to the worst possible start on Friday Night Football with a 2-0 loss at Premier League new boys Brentford.
“It’s worrying at Arsenal. You’re still thinking: ‘Where are they going?’
“Edu has come in, and the recruitment has been lazy, if I’m being honest. It’s been: ‘Oh, we’ll take Willian on a free… we’ll take David Luiz for cheap.’
“I remember years ago in football, managers were judged on signings. Sometimes I think Arteta is left behind, and I’m not sure how much of a say he has got in all of this.
“Why would you let Joe Willock go? I’m not saying he’s the answer, but he’s come through the club and is going for £25m, that sort of money isn’t going to change Arsenal. It’s not like a Harry Kane or Jack Grealish sale where you get £100m and can rebuild the team.
“But Arsenal are prepared to pay Willian big money. Where is the future in that? It’s quick fixes. Surely Willock is a future player and for the present, and can be involved in the plan.
“Jonny Evans is a good example. I was calling for Arsenal to sign him when he left West Brom – a very good player, who was at Man Utd at the wrong time. He would have been a success. But it felt like Arsenal didn’t sign him because he played for West Brom. ‘How can Arsenal be signing players from West Brom?’
“My question to Edu would be: ‘What’s the plan?'”
After a blockbuster opening weekend of the Premier League we’re gearing up to go again, with Arsenal vs Chelsea a headline fixture and set to feature the Blues’ new striker Romelu Lukaku. Peter Smith is joined by Gerard Brand, Adam Smith, Nick Wright, and Ron Walker to look ahead to another big round of games…
Black Stars Head Coach CK Akonnor sacked
The Executive Council of the Ghana Football Association has taken a decision to terminate the appointment of Black Stars Coach Charles Akonnor and his two Assistants with immediate effect.
This follows the receipt of the Technical Report from the Head Coach of the Senior National Team and the report from the Black Stars Management Committee following Ghana’s Group G World Cup qualifying matches against Ethiopia and South Africa.
The Executive Council after considering the two reports have decided to terminate its relationship with the Head Coach C. K Akonnor and the two Assistants.
The Executive Council has formed a three (3) Member Committee made up of Vice President Mark Addo, Upper East Regional Football Association Chairman, Alhaji Salifu Zida and Dr. Randy Abbey to find a Head Coach and Assistant Coaches for the Black Stars within the next 72 hours.
The Association wishes C.K Akonnor and his Assistants the very best in their future endeavours.
Ghana currently have three (3) points after the two opening matches.
The Black Stars will take on Zimbabwe in the next round of games in October 2021.
Andy Murray: Emma Raducanu win provides ‘huge opportunity’ for British tennis
Kent teenager Emma Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown; fellow Briton Andy Murray was asked about the 18-year-old after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden
Andy Murray has hailed Emma Raducanu’s “incredible” US Open win and spoken of a “huge opportunity” for British tennis.
Kent teenager Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown.
Fellow Briton Murray was asked about the 18-year-old at a press conference on Monday after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden.
The three-time grand slam winner said: “It was incredible what she did there. I think for a lot of the people involved in British tennis, we knew she was extremely good.
“She hadn’t competed much for the last sort of 18 months or so with school and coronavirus and those sorts of things, but I think at Wimbledon (where Raducanu reached the fourth round) everyone sort of got a bit of a glimpse of how good she could be.
“I’ve spent a little bit of time around her on the practice court, but more so in the same building, training close to each other, and watching what she’s doing, and she’s obviously really, really good.
“But what she did in New York was very special, a huge boost for British tennis and gives hopefully the governing bodies an opportunity to capitalise on that and get more and more kids involved in the sport.
“It’s great what she did and a huge opportunity for British tennis now.”
Antoine Griezmann: Atletico Madrid re-sign French forward on loan from Barcelona
Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona from Atletico Madrid in £103m deal two years ago; forward returns to Atletico on a season-long loan; Sky Italy and Barcelona say Atletico have obligation to make deal permanent next summer, but Atletico say they instead have the option to extend the loan
Antoine Griezmann has completed his shock Deadline Day return to Atletico Madrid on loan from Barcelona.
Atletico and Barcelona said there was an option to extend the loan for a further season, with the Catalan club adding the Madrid side also had an obligation to make the deal permanent. Sky in Italy reports this permanent deal would cost £34.4m (€40m).
Atletico were able to move for the 30-year-old after sanctioning Saul Niguez’s departure to Chelsea on an initial loan with an option to buy worth £33.4m (€38.9m) overall.
Diego Simeone was keen to sign a new striker and Griezmann will have no difficulty settling back at Atletico, having worked under the Argentine between 2014 and 2019.
Barcelona stated that Atletico have agreed to pay Griezmann’s wages in full.
The 2018 World Cup-winner joined Barcelona from Atletico on a £103m deal two years ago and scored 35 goals in 102 appearances for the club.
However, he has only won the Copa del Rey during his time at the Nou Camp, and the Catalan giants have been trying to lighten their wage bill this summer due to debts amounting to £1.15billion, as confirmed by club president Joan Laporta earlier in August.
The club’s reported financial struggles meant they were unable to offer Lionel Messi a new contract, prompting his shock exit to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
On Tuesday, the club announced stalwarts Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba have accepted to take a pay cut in order to aid the club’s Financial Fair Play parameters and ensure new signing Sergio Aguero could be formally registered with the Spanish Football League (LFP).
Earlier in the summer, Gerard Pique took a similar decision to allow Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia to be ratified as Barcelona players.
Griezmann originally left Atletico for Barcelona in 2019 at the end of a protracted transfer saga after his £103m (€120m) release clause was paid in full.
A year earlier, he featured in a documentary with Spanish TV station Movistar called “The Decision” which followed him as he opted to stay at Atletico despite interest from Barcelona.
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