Arsenal showed tremendous character to hold Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in the League Cup semi-final, bit Mikel Arteta still has a terrifying dearth of midfielders in his squad
But with only ten men, zero senior midfielders, and in one of the most intimidating atmospheres in world football, Arteta’s side manned the barricades to secure a 0-0 draw againstLiverpool in the first-leg of the League Cup semi-final.
Character, passion, fight, bravery, and a generous portion of defensive nous were all in abundance against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
However, while Granit Xhaka’s daft red card for his clumsy challenge on Diogo Jota made an already arduous task almost impossible, Arteta’s problems and solutions in midfield did not start, and will not end, with the Switzerland captain’s dismissal.
The Norwegian was signed from Carlo Ancelotti’s side for £34million, including add-ons and bonuses. But Arteta was able to try before he could buy Odegaard, as he loaned the classy midfielder in the previous January transfer window.
Had the loan opportunity not been available and Real Madrid demanded £35m, Odegaard may not have been starring in an Arsenal shirt today.
After all, his developing years in top level football were spent in a limelight that was far too bright for a player of his young age. Odegaard was 16 years old when Real Madrid came knocking in 2015.
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He shouldered the burden of crippling expectation in his first two loan spells at Heerenveen and Vitesse Arnhem, but the pedestal he was put on was far too high for a player barely old enough to sit his A-Levels.
While his talent began to shine through during his loan spell with Real Sociedad, an immediate £35m move for Odegaard in January 2020 would have only loaded him with the chastening burden he suffered beneath in his early years.
Liberated from the pressures of hefty price-tags and expectation, Odegaard’s performances while on loan entrenched himself as one of Arsenal’s transfer priorities.
And the Gunners are looking to repeat the same trick again by signing Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo on loan.
Reports from Italian outlet Tutto Mercato Web, claim the Brazilian midfielder has ‘agreed’ to join the Gunners on loan, but negotiations between Arsenal and Massimiliano Allegri’s side are still believed to be in their infancy.
To offer you a perspective on the 25-year-old midfielder’s ability, Lionel Messi once compared him to Barcelona legend and current Blaugrana manager Xavi. Unfortunately, his career has not come close to hitting the same heights as the World Cup winner.
Ever since he joined the Italian giants in a swap deal which saw Miralem Pjanic go to Barcelona, Arthur’s footballing journey has been derailed by injuries and poor form.
While Juventus are reportedly ‘convinced’ by his talent, Arthur has only started four Serie A matches for the Bianconeri, who signed Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo last summer.
Considering his poor form and lack of football, a straight up purchase in January would likely be too risky and too expensive for an Arsenal side, who still appear to be harbouring aspirations of signing £60m rated Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina.
But a loan spell would not only give Arthur a free hit at impressing Arteta, it would fortify Arsenal’s midfield options, and shift him from Juventus’ hefty wage-bill.
At 25-years-old, Arthur is far from finished in modern football. A move to the Premier League could be the opportunity he needs to rejuvenate his career and get himself back into contention with the Brazil national football team.
If Arthur decides now is the moment to call-time on his career in Turin, then Arsenal could be in a strong position to negotiate an optional transfer fee at the start of the next season.
If a deal can be agreed between the clubs and the Brazilian, then it is a move which would benefit all implicated parties.