Arsenal have emerged as the front-runners to sign Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard.
The Premier League club is expected to beat out Real Sociedad and Sevilla for the Norwegian’s services after agreeing to Real Madrid’s terms for a loan deal until the end of the season, according to ESPN FC’s James Olley and David Cartlidge.
The agreement reportedly does not include an option to buy this summer.
Odegaard missed Friday’s training session and has signaled his desire to leave Real Madrid on loan, Olley and Cartlidge add. He apparently prefers a move abroad and is eager to test himself in the Premier League.
The attacking midfielder was tipped to stay in Spain, with Real Sociedad considered a likely destination following his successful loan spell with the club last season. But Real Sociedad boss Imanol Alguacil has dismissed reports of a reunion.
“The possibility of Odegaard returning here doesn’t exist,” he said, according to The Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano.
Real Madrid recalled the 22-year-old from Real Sociedad a year into his two-year loan deal because of his impressive play. But Odegaard is reportedly eager to leave Los Blancos due to his limited role under Zinedine Zidane.
Odegaard has failed to live up to expectations following his highly anticipated arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2015, appearing in just eight La Liga matches since signing for Real Madrid.
If a deal with Arsenal is completed, it will be the fourth time Odegaard has been shipped out on loan.