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Real Madrid are said to have asked about the availability of Arsenal playmaker Emile Smith Rowe in discussions about the future of Martin Odegaard.
It appears increasingly unlikely that Odegaard will return to North London for next campaign after an impressive half-season on loan at the Emirates.
The Norwegian starred for Mikel Arteta’s side after arriving from Madrid on a loan deal in January, where he scored two goals in 20 appearances.
However, it appears that Odegaard will be involved in the first-team squad in the Spanish capital for next season and he will not be making his loan switch permanent.
Martin Odegaard impressed during a loan spell with Arsenal from Real Madrid
With boss Zinedine Zidane leaving the club and being replaced by Carlo Ancelotti – who has been appointed following 18 months at Everton – will be significant for the Norwegian’s future.
Odegaard was never a natural fit in Zidane’s system; the Frenchman temporarily accommodated him in a diamond midfield formation at the start of last season following his return from a loan spell at Real Sociedad, but that was swiftly abandoned.
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Zidane reverted to his tried and trusted 4-3-3 formation, playing a trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro, with Odegaard dropped to the bench – starting just one game in La Liga after being involved in the XI in each of the first two.
That opened the door for a loan move to Arsenal in January, but it now appears that the appointment of Ancelotti will boost his chances of regular football at Los Blancos.
Is Emile Smith Rowe now an automatic starter for Arsenal? Comment below
That did not prevent the Gunners from making an enquiry for Odegaard, with CBS Sports saying that Madrid even asked the club about the availability of Smith Rowe.
Negotiations did not advance beyond that point for either player, but that the two names were discussed illustrates how highly both players are rated.
Smith Rowe is a player increasingly admired outside of Arsenal, who are said to have rejected a bid from Aston Villa in the region of £25million.
The 20-year-old’s emergence was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise hugely disappointing season for Arteta’s side, who missed out on European football for the first time in 25 years.
Smith Rowe had previously spent time on loan at both RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town but was included in the first-team squad at the Emirates for this season, where he netted four times in 33 appearances.
He joined the Gunners academy 11 years ago and is now regarded as one of the brightest young players in English football and has now even caught the attention of officials at Madrid.
The news comes in what looks to be a busy summer for Arsenal, who are monitoring moves for a number of players.
Brighton central defender Ben White and Leicester City playmaker James Maddison are said to be among those on the club’s radar, while Arsenal are also said to be in the market for a goalkeeper – with Ajax’s Andre Onana and Aaron Ramsdale of Sheffield United linked.