Mikel Arteta admits that Arsenal will be holding talks with Real Madrid regarding another deal for Martin Odegaard.
The Norwegian midfielder has seen a short-term loan at Emirates Stadium come to a close and is now due back at Santiago Bernabeu, where he is under contract until 2023.
Change is being mooted in Madrid, which could offer Odegaard a clean slate, but Arteta is eager to have the 22-year-old back at his disposal next season.
What has been said?
Quizzed on his plans for Odegaard after seeing Arsenal miss out on European qualification, the Gunners boss told reporters: "We have a very clear and strong opinion on what we’d like to do.
"He’s not our player, we will have discussions in the next few weeks. We respect he’s a Real Madrid player and will have those communications.
"We’ve tried to make everything that we could to get Martin performing for the team, which I think he’s done, and he’s adapted really well to our way of playing and our football club.
"Hopefully, we have given him the hope and the feeling that this could be a good place for him here."
Pressed further on whether he is confident that a deal can be done, Arteta added: "I don’t know, it’s not in our hands."
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Odegaard has hinted throughout his spell in England that he could be open to agreeing a permanent switch.
A lack of continental competition for 2021-22 may work against Arsenal in those talks, with the Gunners only able to muster an eighth-place finish in the Premier League.
They are, however, readying themselves for a busy summer that will deliver a number of comings and goings in north London.
Asked about how he plans to make his side more competitive, Arteta said: "They're [rivals] going to get better and they're going to strengthen, so we need to get better.
"First of all, we have to get our players better, more consistent and help them to improve.
"All our way of playing, our philosophy, I think is in place. They buy into that and now is the moment to take it to the next level, to improve that and improve our consistency because since December to now, we've shown that we're the second or third-best team in the league.
"It's not enough. Six months, the level is high, so we need to do that for 10 months."