Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has revealed he pleaded with midfielder Martin Odegaard to remain at the club for the second half of the campaign but the Norwegian ace was intent on pushing through his loan transfer to Arsenal in order to boost his senior team opportunities.
Martin shone on loan at Real Sociedad last season, racking up four goals and six assists across their La Liga season, but the 22-year-old star struggled for regular playing time after returning to the Galacticos and ultimately decided to continue his progress at the Emirates.
He made his debut as a second-half substitute in the Gunners’ goalless draw with Manchester United last weekend.
Manager Mikel Arteta has even hinted at a possible permanent deal for Odegaard down the line but it appears the talent remains a key part of Zidane’s plans for the future at the club.
‘Odegaard wanted to go, he wanted to play,’ the iconic Madrid manager said.
‘I wanted him back from his loan [with Real Sociedad] and I told him to stay because the season is still very long and he would have had his chances but he wanted to leave and play. It was a demand from him.’
Zinedine added: ‘I told him that he should stay to fight for his place. I was the one who wanted him here, but he wanted to go.’
Martin was an unused substitute as the Gunners were beaten away to Wolves this week and will no doubt be desperate for a place in Mikel’s starting XI at Aston Villa this weekend.
Arsenal, currently sitting tenth in the standings, could leapfrog both the Villa and London rivals Tottenham Hotspur with three points on Saturday.