Arsenal still have a chance of signing Martin Odegaard on a permanent basis says Nigel Winterburn, but the Gunners have been warned that the Real Madrid loanee "wouldn't want to sign for a different manager".
Mikel Arteta was the man to take the Norwegian playmaker to Emirates Stadium during the winter transfer window, but questions are being asked of his future in another inconsistent campaign.
Winterburn hopes continuity and stability will be sought, allowing a side in danger of missing out on continental competition in 2021-22 to start putting recruitment plans in place for a brighter future.
What has been said?
Quizzed on whether Arsenal are running the risk of missing out on Odegaard, former Gunners defender Winteburn - speaking in association with FreeSuperTips - told Goal: "It will come down to what Real Madrid will want to do and whether he wants to stay there because he might not get the game time he wants.
"Arsenal would be in prime position; he's been here he knows what the club is like.
"He probably wants assurances that Arteta is going to be in charge because he wouldn't want to sign for a different manager.
"He's usually in the team and he's shown enough. He's a link up player, he’s very neat and tidy on the ball and we need creative players in around that area. I would think there will be other clubs looking at him as well, if he becomes available."
The bigger picture
Odegaard pushed for the exits in Madrid as he struggled for regular game time under Zinedine Zidane.
He has made 18 appearances for Arteta, scoring two goals, and has rediscovered the spark that had started to fizzle out in Spain.
The 22-year-old has been leaving a door open for Arsenal to discuss a long-term stay, but there are a number of factors to take into account, including no guarantee that Zidane will still be in charge of Real next season.
"I think it comes down to when he's been at the club, how he feels, how he's been treated, and does he feel again that potentially it's somewhere where he wants to be?" Winterburn added on the Gunners' chances of getting an agreement in place. "It's looking as if he would get quite a lot of game time, but is that enough for him?
"We've seen glimpses of what he can do, so that's an option I would think Arsenal would be looking at.
"It depends on the fee and whether Arsenal are willing to pay that fee, it all comes into the equation."