Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta challenged Martin Odegaard to improve his statistics this season, with the Spaniard making it clear he expected more from the midfielder.

That’s according to journalist Adrià Jiménez, who has provided details on the conversation between Arteta and his captain ahead of this season.

Odegaard has been a key player for the Spanish coach during his time in charge at the Emirates, first arriving on loan from Real Madrid before making the move permanent in August 2021.

Since then, he’s managed 32 goals and 22 assists in 136 games for the club, numbers that very much back up the important role he plays in Arteta’s system.

This season he is currently on eight goals and seven assists in 31 games in all competitions, meaning he is well on his way to matching or bettering the 15 goals and eight assists he managed in 45 appearances in all competitions last season.

It seems Arteta was not overly impressed by those numbers, though, and instead demanded improvement, something which has been helped by the summer arrival of Declan Rice.

“Last year he scored about 15 goals and distributed quite a few assists, but Arteta made Odegaard understand that he had to be a more finishing player,” Jiménez told Cadena SER.

“Arsenal needs the Norwegian with the ability to move quickly from the base to finishing areas.

“Thanks to the figure of Declan Rice, who covers all the ground he has to cover, he is a player who now has that freedom to clean up the play from the beginning and reach areas where he can do damage through a goal or an assist.”