Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has admitted that he would have preferred Arsenal loanee Martin Odegaard to have stayed in the Spanish capital and fight for his place instead of joining the Gunners last month.
After eyeing up Norwich City midfield ace Emiliano Buendia for much of the January transfer window, Arsenal, who travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa on Saturday lunchtime, launched a move for Odegaard, signing him on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
The deal, which was concluded less than a week before the window closed, suited all parties perfectly as the Gunners were desperate to add a new creative attacking-midfielder to their ranks and Odegaard had not seen an awful amount of game time at the Bernabeu this season.
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Prior to sealing his move to the Emirates Stadium, the Norwegian international had featured just seven times in all competitions this season, with only five of those coming in La Liga.
Although opportunities were proving hard to come by for the midfielder, who will be targeting his first start for the Gunners this weekend, Zidane has admitted that he wanted him to stay and try and force his way into his plans.
“Odegaard? He wanted to leave, we talked two, three times about it,” Zidane said, as quoted by the Mirror. “He wanted to play and I told him to stay and fight for his place.
“I wanted him back from his loan [at Real Sociedad last season] and I told him to stay because the season is still very long and he would have had his chances.
“But he wanted to leave and play. I really wanted him in my squad.”
Since joining Madrid back in 2015 as a young 16-year-old, Odegaard has only made 11 appearances for the first-team, with him having been sent out on loan on three separate occasions before joining Arsenal.
Although Zidane may have…