Keown criticises Arsenal’s signing of Odegaard as an opportunity wasted

Arsenal welcomed the double signing of Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale for a total of £65million on Friday, but Gunners legend Martin Keown is not entirely happy with Mikel Arteta’s business

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Arteta welcomes Odegaard back to Arsenal after club complete permanent move

Arsenal celebrated the return of Martin Odegaard in a permanent £35million deal on Friday, but Martin Keown has criticised Mikel Arteta for spending money strengthening his squad in the wrong area.

The Gunners have acted fast to bring in two new faces following their dismal 2-0 defeat to Brentford on the opening day of the new campaign.

Odegaard, who spent five months on loan at the Emirates last season and scored twice in 16 appearances, has rejoined the club on a long-term contract after Real Madrid agreed to sell the Norwegian.

He will be joined by new goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale after the England goalkeeper completed his £30m switch to north London on the same day from Sheffield United.

Martin Odegaard returned to Arsenal in a £35m deal

It means Arteta has now spent over £140m on new players this summer, with Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares his other arrivals this summer.

Former Arsenal defender Keown, now a pundit for BT Sport and BBC, questioned whether the arrival of the 22-year-old was needed when Emile Smith Rowe can play in the position.

“Odegaard came in after Boxing Day,” Keown told talkSPORT.

“Yes the results improved largely. He played 16 times, nine starts, five [substitute appearances], one goal and two assists [sic].

“I think Smith Rowe is a better player in that position. But if the manager feels this Odegaard can bring something extra to the group then time will tell again.”

Arteta has signed two central midfielders since becoming Arsenal boss in December 2019, bringing in Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid for £45m in October 2020.

Martin Keown has questioned Mikel Arteta’s transfer business after signing Odegaard

The Spaniard then forked out another £18.5m to snap up Lokonga from Anderlecht and the Belgian made his debut against Brentford in the Premier League season opener.

Arsenal also ended up keeping Granit Xhaka at the club after Roma failed to match their valuation for the Switzerland international, while White can deputise as a holding midfielder.

Additionally, want-away midfielder Lucas Torreira is still at the club but could be sold to make room for another squad addition.

But Keown still believes the Gunners could have done with some more bodies in midfield, rather than signing a playmaker who may not bring a huge improvement.

“I don’t think though that he’s a world class player but I do think he’s a promising player,” he added.

“The other signings, it’s still too early to say. Lokonga in midfield played OK the other night.

Martin Odegaard becomes Arsenal’s fourth summer signing, with Aaron Ramsdale coming later as the fifth


Andy Rain – Pool/Getty Images)

“I would’ve thought that’s where the money should have been spent, big money in that central midfield position.”

Arteta will be hoping his new arrivals can help relieve the pressure on him and his players after the defeat against Brentford.

They face Chelsea in a crucial London derby on Sunday, with Ramsdale and Odegaard both eligible to be named in the squad.

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