Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard signs new contract: ‘This feels like home ... we can achieve great things’

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard signs new contract: ‘This feels like home ... we can achieve great things’

Martin Odegaard says it was an “easy decision” to agree a new contract with Arsenal and believes the club can win major trophies after tying down the core of its squad.

Arsenal captain Odegaard this morning signed a five-year deal until 2028, giving the Gunners a major boost ahead of Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham.

The midfielder is the latest key player to commit his future to Arsenal, following Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Magalhaes, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba.

Odegaard insists his decision to stay and be part of the Arsenal project under Mikel Arteta is a “no-brainer” and he is dreaming of leading the team to silverware.

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“It was an easy decision for me,” said the Norwegian. “This feels like home and what we are doing is something I really want to be a part of and to improve even more and take new steps to achieve some great things together.

“That is the big dream, the big goal, to win things with the club. That’s why I have signed here as well, because we can achieve some great things.

“What we’re doing is really special and the players see what the manager wants to do and how the club is progressing, the connection we now have with the fans. It’s a no-brainer for the players to be part of that.

“All the players want the same thing, they want to stay for a long time and really fight for the club and win things together.”

After narrowly missing out on the title last season, Arsenal are determined to get over the line.

They have made an unbeaten start to the campaign and, ahead of this weekend’s derby showdown, Odegaard insists they can handle the added pressure on them this season.

“Expectations always go up if you perform,” he said. “I enjoy that pressure. I like to have it. No matter the pressure from outside, I will always put more on myself. I think the team all enjoy the pressure.

“We want to be there at the top, fighting to win things. That’s where we’re going to be so we have to enjoy that pressure, focus on the right things and I’m sure good things will come.”

Odegaard enjoyed the best season of his career last year, finishing the campaign with 15 goals and being named Premier League player of the year at the London Football Awards.

Earlier this month, the 24-year-old was nominated for the Ballon d’Or, while he has continued his fine form this season, scoring three goals in seven games.

Odegaard, however, believes his best is yet to come. “I am still young,” he said. “I have a lot of areas to improve still and a lot of things I can do better. I am hungry for more and I am going to keep fighting to improve.

“I want to be better than last year, but I don’t have a certain number [of goals] I want to reach. I just want to focus on doing the right things and then I think the results will be good. I wouldn’t say I was surprised [by the amount of goals I scored last season], but I was happy. I knew I had it in me.”

Odegaard has praised Arteta and his coaching staff for improving his efficiency in front of goal, specifically the work they have done with him around timing his runs into the box.

“Mikel has been a massive, massive help,” said Odegaard. “From the first time I spoke to him, I knew he was a great coach straight away. It is just the way he speaks, the way he sees football. He is so smart, he sees so many details you don’t even think about.

“What he has helped me improve a lot is my position — where to threaten, what areas to threaten and how I can be more dangerous arriving in the box at the right times. I’m still learning new things every day in training. He’s amazing.”

Odegaard has stressed the importance of his team-mates around him — including £105million signing Declan Rice — after thriving since being appointed Arsenal captain last year.

“Declan has been brilliant since the first day,” said Odegaard. “He is a great character.

“On the pitch you see his quality, what he brings to the team, the energy, the power. He is a bit different, so he gives us something else. Off the pitch he is a great guy, a funny guy, but also a leader. He was captain at West Ham and it is nice to have someone like him around to help me and we can help each other to grow and improve.”