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'Odegaard Was Fighting A Losing Battle With Messi Comparisons'

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes Martin Odegaard was fighting "a losing battle" after being compared to FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi earlier in his young career.

Read: Aubameyang Explains Absence From Arsenal Squad

The Norwegian enjoyed an impressive loan spell at Real Sociedad last season before being recalled by Real Madrid for this campaign, but after a lack of game time, the left-footer joined the Gunners on loan this month.

Odegaard was touted as a great prospect when he joined Los Blancos in 2015 at the age of 16, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, drew comparisons to some of LaLiga's best at the time.

"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, per the Daily Mirror.

"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 No. 8, No. 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.

"Something he has improved a lot is his work rate without the ball as well. It's another option to give us more creativity in the final third. He certainly has all the qualities and characteristics that we are looking for.

"Then it would be down to two things – first of all, how well he adapts here and how much of an impact he can have in our team, and second, what Real Madrid and the player thinks about it because he's owned by Real Madrid and the player has a big say on that.

"I just wanted to give him a clear picture of who we are as a club, what we are trying to do, what we expect from him, just try to transmit the passion and excitement that we had to bring him in.

"I wanted to show him the project, how he fits, and just try to persuade him that this is the right place for him and try to make things work."

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