Ray Parlour has praised Arsenal for a “brilliant” piece of business in signing 24-year-old midfielder Martin Odegaard.

Arsenal signed Odegaard from Real Madrid on a permanent deal in August 2021 and he has since been handed the captain’s armband.

The Norwegian has been integral to Mikel Arteta’s title charge this season, playing a key role in the Gunners’ ascent to the top of the table.

The victory restored Arsenal’s five-point lead over Manchester City, as Arteta’s young side eye a first league trophy since the 2003/2004 campaign.

However, things could have been very different, with the Gunners originally keen to sign Leicester midfielder James Maddison, as per the Express.

Parlour praises “brilliant” Odegaard

Parlour has since lauded the club’s hierarchy for choosing to sign Odegaard, labelling him a “steal”.

Parlour told talkSPORT: “He’s been a brilliant signing Odegaard.

“They tried to go for Maddison, £60-£70m and they couldn’t get him probably.

“They went with Odegaard for £30-35m, what a steal. He’s never injured, he’s always wants the ball in tight situations.

“That’s why Real Madrid went in for him as a youngster, he didn’t make it, but now he’s such an important player for Arsenal.”

Odegaard recently won the Player of the Year award at the London Football Awards on Monday evening, sealing his status as one of the league’s stand-out players this season. Meanwhile, teammate Bukayo Saka and boss Arteta were also among the awards.

Arteta faces a tough selection decision ahead of Arsenal’s second leg Europa League clash against Sporting Lisbon.

With the scores firmly in the balance at 2-2, Arteta may need to call on his more senior players such as Odegaard. However, he will also be cautious to keep everyone fresh for their match against Crystal Palace on Sunday.