Arsenal chief Edu Gaspar: “With Odegaard, we had the patience that other teams didn’t”

Arsenal director Edu Gaspar picked up the award for best European director during the Golden Boy Awards and used the opportunity to discuss several topics with Marca, including Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard’s rise to prominence, what it is like working with Mikel Arteta, and Real Madrid’s Endrick and Jude Bellingham.

Edu, along with Arteta, has been essential in Arsenal’s rise as they are once again competing for the Premier League title. The London club missed out by just five points as they were pipped to the title by Manchester City, however, they have not let that disappointment dissuade them, and the club once again tops the table after 17 matches.

Edu and Arteta at Arsenal

When asked about his and Arteta’s influence over the team, the former Valencia player responded, “With Mikel, we have created something special. We started as two known footballers who wanted to do something in the football world. Working with Mikel is a pleasure. He’s a great professional and a great person. When these two facts combine, everything becomes simpler. I’m very lucky to be at Arsenal working with Mikel. We discuss things, mostly about the club, and I can say that we are having a really good time together. It was a pleasure to become the director of Arsenal. I’m so proud to receive this award because as soon as I stopped playing, I immediately went to the other side, and to receive this recognition is a real privilege.”

On Odegaard’s time at Arsenal

Odegaard was signed by Arsenal for £30 million from Real Madrid in 2021 after having spent six months at the club on loan. The Norwegian struggled during his time at Madrid and was ultimately unable to break into the first team after loan spells at Vitesse and Real Sociedad, amongst others. However, Odegaard has flourished during his time at Arsenal, becoming their captain and one of the best attacking midfielders in the country. Asked about this quick rise, Edu said, “There are players that do well in one place and bad in another. It’s about opportunity…Our strategy was, and still is, to buy young players and he was the perfect option. We had followed Martin for years, and perhaps we had the patience with him that others didn’t.”

Endrick and Bellingham at Real Madrid

When asked about what his thoughts were about Real Madrid’s signing of Brazilian star Endrick (Edu being Brazilian himself), Edu responded, “They’ve bought a really special player. I know the South American market really well, and this player is close to being a complete player. He comes from Palmeiras, a club I know well, and I know that he can do great things.”

Edu also spoke about English star Jude Bellingham who he regards, like all, as a fantastic player, “We already saw his potential in the Bundesliga, and that he could go really far, but when he arrived at Real Madrid, and you see what he’s doing, you realise that he is special, different.”

GSFN | Finn Entwistle

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