Martin Odegaard Arsenal captain
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

'So intelligent': Redknapp says Mikel Arteta has just pulled off a 'masterstroke' at Arsenal

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp believes Martin Odegaard starting games as the Arsenal captain is a ‘masterstroke’ by Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners have had plenty of captains over the last few years. Laurent Koscielny was the skipper when Arsene Wenger left Arsenal, and the armband was given to Granit Xhaka when the French defender moved on.

The Swiss international’s reign didn’t last long and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took over in 2019. The Gabon star, after over three years with the armband, was stripped of his captaincy in December last year, and that was handed over to Lacazette.

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The Frenchman is currently Arsenal’s club captain now, but he hasn’t started any of Arsenal’s last four games. Odegaard has donned the armband during that period, and Redknapp believes the Norwegian is the perfect option.

Jamie Redknapp: Making Martin Odegaard Arsenal captain is a masterstroke

Speaking on Sky Sports after Arsenal’s win over West Ham yesterday, Redknapp said: “I think as well, by bringing him into the team, they might have just stumbled across a problem that’s caused Arsenal for a few years – the captaincy.

“Xhaka was captain for a while, didn’t really work, Aubameyang, then they give it to Lacazette, it was almost like no one wanted to be. But, by giving it to Odegaard, it feels right for me.

“He might not be the most vocal, but when you watch him play, he organises people, plays the right pass, he’s a lovely footballer to watch, so intelligent. You can see from Mikel Arteta’s point of view, he’s almost like his manager on the pitch.

“The captaincy has been a major problem at Arsenal, now that they’ve given it to him. He’s there for the future, he’s a fantastic player, you can see he’s a good guy as well. That’s a bit of a masterstroke from Mikel Arteta.”

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Lacazette, the club captain, is expected to leave Arsenal at the end of his contract this summer. That means Mikel Arteta will have to name a new skipper and Odegaard may well be the front-runner.

The ex-Real Madrid man, even though he’s still only 23, is vastly experienced. Everybody at the club respects him and he has been absolutely phenomenal for the Gunners since he joined the club on a permanent deal last summer.

The one debate that Arteta will have to find an answer to is if Kieran Tierney deserves the armband. The Scotsman was viewed as a future skipper by many Arsenal fans and he has been at the club longer than Odegaard.

He is a natural leader as well and it will be interesting to if Arteta will be swayed once Tierney’s back from his injury. However, as things stand, Odegaard is the favourite to become the next Arsenal captain.

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