Mikel Arteta has challenged Martin Odegaard to continue to provide more of a ‘threat on goal’ after the midfielder opened his account for Arsenal with a brilliant strike against Olympiakos in midweek.
Arteta slowly eased Odegaard in following the 22-year-old’s arrival in January but the Real Madrid loanee has since established himself as a regular in the first-team, starting six of the Gunners’ last seven matches in all competitions.
On Thursday night, Odegaard produced his best moment yet in an Arsenal shirt as the north London club took a step towards the Europa League quarter-finals with a 3-1 win in their last-16 first leg with Olympiakos.
The Norwegian beat Jose Sa with a powerful 20-yard drive to break the deadlock in the 34th minute at the Karaiskaki Stadium and his performance was widely praised, with Arteta clearly impressed.
However, speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Sunday’s north London derby, the Spaniard called for Odegaard to add more goals to his game and provide an even greater threat in the final third.
‘He came here and physically he still wasn’t at his best,’ Arteta said.
‘But the way he has adapted, the respect he has gained from everybody in that dressing room and the personality that he shows on that pitch, honestly, I’m really impressed because to do it in the Premier League is very complicated.
‘He always wants the ball, he works really hard and he gels us as a team, he makes us be closer to each other and he gives us a lot of continuity.
‘Now he has to give us the threat on goal because he can do that and that creativity that he has in the final third is going to be really important for us.’
‘We have to discuss that,’ Arteta added.
‘He’s not our player, we have a loan deal until the end of the season and we have to maximise that.
‘We have to make him as good and as happy as possible at the club so at the end of that loan, we have the best possible chance to decide what is best for both parties.’