Rio Ferdinand identifies Arsenal issue with Martin Odegaard transfer

Rio Ferdinand has identified a potential problem Arsenal have by signing Martin Odegaard.

The Norway international is set to be announced by the Gunners this week after agreeing a loan move with Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane regularly left the playmaker out of his squad, opting to field his more experienced stars such as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio.

It led to Odegaard demanding a move away this January and Arteta is a huge fan.

The Spaniard has been desperate for some creativity in his midfield and sees the former Real Sociedad star as the ideal man to fulfil his wish.

It was Arteta that forced a move through at the Emirates, regularly calling the midfielder and his father to convince him of the project.

Martin Odegaard is set to join Arsenal on loan

But for Emile Smith Rowe, it represents a very real threat to his development this season.

The 20-year-old has been sensational for the Gunners since his display against Chelsea on Boxing Day.

Arsenal have not lost a game he has been involved in this season.

On Tuesday night against Southampton, Smith Rowe was in fine form again as the north London outfit won 3-1 to go eighth in the Premier League.

But after the match, BT Sport pundit Ferdinand opened up over the problem Smith Rowe now faces.

He said: “Competition’s healthy and young players need the competition.

“But you don’t want players coming in and stunting the growth of certain young players there.

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“Especially ones that have just come into the team and starting to show good form.

Emile Smith Rowe has been in fine form

“The belief the manager has shown in them.”

It comes as Ferdinand praised Smith Rowe for being the catalyst for Arsenal’s win.

He added: “Great night for Arsenal. I think the way they played, the foundations of that performance, was from the hard work, the press high up the pitch.

“I think the instigator of that was Smith Rowe. He’s been brought in, a young graduate from the academy, and that was foundation that set everything up.

“Arsenal, we always spoke about how they played great football, entertained us, scored some fabulous goals over the past few years.

“But that element that we’re talking about – the press from the front, to be able to really suffocate teams is where they’ve probably let themselves down at times. Today they got it right.”



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