Arsenal star Martin Odegaard opened up about his first meeting with manager Mikel Arteta.

Despite a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Everton last weekend, the Gunners remain at the summit of the Premier League table, some five points clear of last season’s champions Manchester City.

Arteta’s side have been the Premier League’s surprise package this term, inspired by the youthful flare of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Odegaard.

Indeed, the latter has been one of the division’s most productive players, registering eight goals and five assists in his 19 Premier League games so far.

The 24-year-old, who was named club captain at the start of the season, laid bare the influence Arteta had in bringing him to the Emirates in January 2021.

Odegaard’s meeting with Arteta

In a frank interview with the Players Tribune, Odegaard detailed his first meeting with Arsenal boss Arteta.

The Norway international stressed that the Gunners boss convinced him to join from Real Madrid despite the club’s then-lowly position in the Premier League table.

Odegaard said: “I spoke to Mikel Arteta on a Zoom call and he told me all about the project.

“At the time, Arsenal were not doing well. They were way down like 15th in the table, but that meeting … Honestly, I challenge anyone to come away from a meeting with Arteta and not believe everything he tells you.

“He is next level. It’s hard to explain. He’s passionate, he’s intense and sometimes, yeah, he’s a bit crazy … but when he speaks, you understand that whatever he says will happen, will happen.

“He told me his plan, everything he was building towards. He knew exactly what needed to change at the club.

“He told me all about these amazing young players in the squad — Saka, Martinelli, Smith Rowe, etc., etc. He told me how he wanted me to fit in and how I was going to improve.

“I got this strong feeling that he was onto something really special.”