Mikel Arteta has praised the leadership qualities of loan signing Martin Odegaard and says Arsenal will potentially look to extend his stay at the club.
Odegaard moved to the Emirates from Real Madrid in January and has impressed in recent appearances.
The 22-year-old needed time to get up to speed having not featured regularly for the LaLiga giants, but has started Arsenal’s last two games in the No.10 role.
While his ability to find space and pick out key passes has been evident from those early Arsenal displays, Arteta has also been impressed with Odegaard’s approach.
“He is a young leader,” the Spaniard said. “On the pitch he is showing a lot of character and a lot of intelligence. They are characteristics that a leader should have.
“He has been here a very short time but he has adapted very quickly. He is getting more and more respect from the players and the staff and his weight on the team will increase with every week.
The signing of the Norway international was something of a coup for the Gunners, who host Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday.
There has already been something a clamour from supporters to see Odegaard remain at the club beyond the end of the current campaign, when he is due to return to Madrid.
Odegaard made his Real Madrid debut in 2015 but has struggled to retain a place in the team – with Arsenal his fourth loan club in recent times following stays at Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad.
Arteta conceded any deal, whether another loan or a permanent deal, would have to be worked out in the summer.
“We have Martin for a few months from Real Madrid and first of all we have to maximise this time with him to try to bring to the team all the qualities he has,” the Spaniard added.
“At the end of the season we will sit together and decide where we can take that relationship forward. At the moment it doesn’t just depend on us.”
Odegaard was included in the starting line-up against City where Arteta made five changes to his side.
He made no alterations to his line-up from the victory over Leeds for the 1-1 Europa League draw with Benfica on Thursday night and decided to change it up.
Nicolas Pepe and fit-again Kieran Tierney were also given the nod for Sunday’s game.