Mikel Arteta: Martin Ødegaard is not Lionel Messi

Martin Ødegaard was always fighting a “lost battle” with comparisons to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi but has the characteristics needed to be a success at Arsenal, according to head coach Mikel Arteta. 

The Gunners have signed the playmaker on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season and Arteta is excited to have landed the Norwegian.

“I wouldn’t even get close to that name you just mentioned [Messi] because it’s a lost battle in my opinion. Martin is Martin,” Arteta said ahead of Saturday’s clash with Manchester United. 

In the last few seasons, he’s progressed and developed in the right way. I follow him very closely because he played for Real Sociedad which is my hometown and I know him really well. He’s such a talent. He needs the right environment, a little bit of time, but he’s got the qualities to be a success for us. He’s a specialist to playing in the pockets, to be in the number eight, number 10 positions. He can play on the sides, a really creative player, really comfortable on the ball in tight spaces, the capacity to create chances, to score goals.

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