Arsenal on Wednesday agreed to terms with Real Madrid and Sheffield United for the transfers of Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale respectively.

Arsenal is desperate to play Champions League football after missing the competition for the past two seasons. (Image: Twitter / Arsenal)

The pair are going to strengthen the team, with deals expected to be finalized by the end of the week. Arsenal lost to newly-promoted Brentford 2-0 on the opening day of the Premier League season, fuelling concern among its fans. The Gunners finished eighth last season and failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years. Spanish manager Mikel Arteta stayed in charge; his goal is to fight for Champions League access this year.

Odegaard set to return

Arsenal will pay $41.2 million plus bonuses to sign 22-year-old Odegaard, who was considered superfluous at Real Madrid. The talented Norwegian spent the second half of last season on loan to Arsenal, playing 20 games and convincing Arteta he’s able to help rebuild the team. Odegaard passed a medical on Wednesday and will be confirmed as an Arsenal player in the coming days. If registration goes according to plan and papers are finalized by midday on Friday, Odegaard could even feature in Sunday’s London derby against Chelsea.

In his previous spell at the Emirates, Odegaard scored two goals for Arsenal, one of them coming against North London arch-rivals Tottenham in March.

Signed as a 16-year-old by the Madrid giants from Norwegian club Stromsgodset in 2015, Odegaard spent time with Real’s B team before being loaned to Heerenveen, Vitesse (both in the Dutch Eredivisie), and Real Sociedad (in the Spanish La Liga). He only played 11 times on Real Madrid’s first team. The midfielder wasn’t unsettled by the many temporary moves in his career, becoming a regular on Norway’s national team. So far, Odegaard has 30 caps under his belt.

Deal in principle reached for Ramsdale

After closing on Odegaard, Arsenal dug deeper into its pocket for another transfer: Aaron Ramsdale will move from Championship club Sheffield United to Arsenal in return for $33 million. An additional $8.25 million could be added to the price, depending on certain contract clauses.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper was part of England’s squad for Euro 2020 earlier this summer. Arsenal’s manager Arteta is a keen admirer, even though Ramsdale comes after a torrid season that ended in relegation for Sheffield United.

The keeper moved to Sheffield United from Bournemouth in 2020, with the latter getting 15% of the transfer fee Arsenal will now pay. His acquisition price last year was close to $25.5 million. Despite their relegation, Ramsdale was voted player of the season at Sheffield United.

Arsenal hopes to continue doing business before the transfer window shuts on Aug. 31, with Arteta putting pressure on the board to get him more players in. In July, Arsenal signed 23-year-old Ben White from Brighton for $68.7 million on a five-year contract.

There could be some surprising exits from Arsenal, too. FC Barcelona is rumored to be exploring a swap between Coutinho and Aubameyang. Aubameyang still has three years left in his contract and is currently the Arsenal captain, but manager Arteta doesn’t consider the 32-year-old untouchable at the moment.

Arsenal is the seventh-favorite to win the Premier League this season at +10000, way below Man City (+110), Chelsea (+350), Liverpool (+400), Man. United (+600), Tottenham (+3400), and even Leicester (+4100). Arsenal stands at +600 for a top-four finish at the end of the campaign, with the bookies not believing there are enough signs that the club’s fortunes might change this season.

Of all of the 20 Premier League managers, Arteta is the favorite to be the first to leave his job at +125. Crystal Palace’s Patrick Vieira is second at +750, while Ralph Hasenhuttl from Southampton comes third at +800.