Arsene Wenger returned to his first Arsenal game since he left the club in 2018, as Arsenal beat West Ham 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium in December.
After the game the former Arsenal boss went down to the home team dressing room to meet the players and speak to Mikel Arteta. One of the players he spoke to in length was the Arsenal captain, Martin Odegaard.
Arsene Wenger went down into the Arsenal dressing room after the game yesterday to meet the players and speak to Mikel Arteta…
— now.arsenal (@now_arsenaI) December 27, 2022
Funnily enough, whilst academy graduate Bukayo Saka was one of those who hadn’t met Wenger before, recent signing Martin Odegaard was one of those who had.
Speaking to The Players’ Tribune Martin Odegaard revealed the two had dinner along with Odegaard’s father eight years earlier, when Wenger was trying to convince the player to join Arsenal, instead of Real Madrid.
Martin Odegaard via The Players’ Tribune:
“After the win over West Ham on Boxing Day, I got the chance to speak to Wenger. It was the first time he’d been back to the Emirates since 2018, and the first time I’d seen him since that steak and fries all those years ago.
We had a good chat and he mentioned that he’d kept a close eye on my career even after I chose Madrid. He was honest and said that at one point he was actually worried about the way things were going for me, but now he’s so happy to see me doing well in the right environment.
He’d recognised something. Ever since I left Norway, it’s like everything has felt sort of temporary. I haven’t had that stability, that real deep connection, until now, and that’s so important.”
The Arsenal captain looks to have finally found his home in North London under Mikel Arteta. The Norwegian is currently in the best form on his footballing career & at only 24-years-old, he still a long way to go to reach his peak.
Martin Odegaard has made more appearances for Arsenal in two years, than he has made at any of his previous clubs, even Madrid where he spent six years there.
Long may it continue.