Okay, so it’s only fair if we’re flirting with one club’s player that another club would attempt to flirt with our own players. At one level, it’s an indication of our own rising reputation and the quality of the players we have in this squad. On the other, there’s not a drop of hypocrisy when I say we should sign Rice away from West Ham and also say PSG can say the hell away from our players, especially our captain, our prince, our talisman Martin Ødegaard away have me a little worried.
How did we lure this magician away from Real Madrid? He was meant to be among the next generation of galacticos. Instead, Edu and Arteta secured his services at the laughably low transfer fee of just £30m. I laughed aloud just typing that. He’s arguably the best midfielder in the Prem (well, I exaggerate. He’s on the list, though), and he plays for us. What’s more, he seems to want to stay despite the interest from PSG. He seems settled in London, and he seems to genuinely enjoy playing in this squad and for this club.
Sure, should he go to PSG, he’d be handed trophies two and three times a year. Have you seen how the fans over there have been acting? They’ve been booing and hissing Neymar and Messi during almost every match. It’s as if they’re all a bunch of spoiled brats who get upset when they get everything they want…and, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure whether I’m still describing the fans. But I digress.
Ødegaard has two years left on his contract with an option to extend to 2026. This next contract could be huge, given that it would likely last until he’s 30. He’s currently 115k per week, a number that should almost certainly double and could perhaps match or even exceed Saka’s £280k weekly wage. It’s a bit mind-boggling to think but not fully beyond the realm of possibility to think that Ødegaard could become our first player to earn £300k per week. For as good as he’s been, he’s only going to get better, and my earlier hyperbole about him being the best midfielder in the Prem will soon become a reality. We’ll have to pay him accordingly if we’re going to keep him here; we can’t simply rely on his commitment and loyalty. He seems like a thoroughly decent and mature young man (all the more reason, perhaps, to reward him).
Arteta and Edu are building a squad that was meant to think about competing at some point in the near future. Thanks in large parts to Ødegaard’s performance and leadership, we’re competing now. Seeing him fulfill his potential is the kind of thing that should convince others (like Saliba, to name one; Rice, to name another; Caicedo….) to commit to this project.
For as good as we’ve done this past season, it feels like a mere prologue to what’s to come.