Real Madrid have blocked Martin Odegaard’s loan to Real Sociedad and want him to join Arsenal, says Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.

With Mesut Ozil set to join Fenerbahce, the Gunners have enquired about signing the 22-year-old until the summer.

The player himself wanted to return to Real Sociedad, where he impressed on loan last season.

“Real Madrid see Real Sociedad as a rival and they don’t want to help them,” said Balague.

“They are sixth in the table, three points off the top four. If they think they are fighting for the same thing, which is Champions League qualification, then it doesn’t make sense to strengthen a rival.”

After returning to the Bernabeu in the summer following his Real Sociedad loan, it seemed Odegaard might become a first-team regular under Zinedine Zidane, who coached him in the B team when he first joined the club in 2015 and is now in charge of the senior side.

But after starting the first two La Liga games of the season, the attacking midfielder has featured only once from the outset of a league game since – on 21 November.

“Real Sociedad were very hopeful of getting Odegaard back, even though David Silva plays in that position,” added Balague. 

“The player preferred to go there because there would be no need for adaptation and he just wants to play. But Real prefer Arsenal because of the style and because they believe he will play there regularly as well.

“Real Sociedad also now think it will be Arsenal, even though other Premier League teams are interested.”

‘A little short in certain areas’

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was asked about Odegaard on Thursday but did not want to speak about specific targets.

However, he did make it clear he is hoping the Gunners will be active before the 1 February transfer deadline.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos was released from his contract this week, while Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba have already departed on loan deals and Ozil’s switch to Turkey is set to go through but is being held up by quarantine rules.

“We have done the first part more or less and we are focusing now on the second phase,” said Arteta.

“Obviously this market and the context makes it difficult, but we are looking at options and we will see what we can do.

“We are looking at various positions because the movement we have made in this window with some players leaving the club has left us a little bit short in certain areas.

“So if we can, we will do it and if we can’t, we will keep going with what we have.”

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