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Arsenal played a blinder with the sale of Joe Willock

Mikel Arteta is finally beginning to see the fruits of his labours as Arsenal manager, especially with his dealings in the transfer market.

This summer, the Spaniard signed Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner, and Marquinhos as he not only plays for short-term success but the longer-term future of the club.

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This could be the start of something wonderful at the Emirates, and it was a decision that Arteta made last summer that may have been the catalyst behind the side’s form…

Arteta played a blinder by selling Joe Willock

Arsenal signed Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid in January 2021 and following an impressive spell, Arteta wanted to make the move permanent that summer.

Due to the club’s financial situation, however, it looked likely that the manager would have to sell in order to raise funds to purchase the Norwegian.

With academy graduate Joe Willock having spent the second half of the 2020/2021 season on loan at Newcastle United when a £25m bid arrived, it was almost a no-brainer for Arteta.

Going by the evidence, Arteta looks to have played a blinder on the player who was once dubbed “limitless” by journalist Simon Collings.

Last season, Odegaard had 11 goal contributions (seven goals and four assists) while Willock only scored twice, somewhat proving that Arsenal made the correct choice selling the Englishman to raise funds for the Madrid man.

The Norwegian was more efficient when it came to generating shot-creating actions (4.33 to 2.03 per 90), pass completion rate (84.8% to 80.7%), and even successful pressures (26.8% to 22.2%).

Odegaard has continued to shine this season, already grabbing five goal contributions in just ten Premier League matches, three more than Willock, who has played a game more.

The Arsenal player also has a much greater dribble success rate this season (76%) compared to Willock (31%) and it appears the move to Newcastle isn’t doing much for the 23-year-olds development.

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Although it may not have sounded like it at the time, the two corresponding transfers have allowed Arteta to build his team around Odegaard and this has been key to their impressive start this season.

Long may it continue for the club and Arteta will be happy that he made the decision to sell Willock in order to bring someone more talented to Arsenal.