Arsenal could sign the next Odegaard in “special” £43m sensation

Arsenal have endured a slight slump in form over the last few weeks, with three losses on the bounce seeing them fall from first to fourth in the Premier League and crash out of the FA Cup.

The frontline’s return of just one goal in those three games is clearly the most significant problem at present, but aside from Martin Odegaard, the midfield does look light on creativity and flair.

Mikel Arteta and Edu seem to be of the same opinion as the latest player touted for a move to the Emirates has been compared to the talented Norwegian and has been on fire this season.


Arsenal look to the Bundesliga for creative reinforcements

According to reports from Germany (via TEAMtalk), Arsenal have entered the race for Manchester United target Xavi Simons.

The report has revealed that, alongside the Gunners and United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Inter Milan are all keen on the youngster.

Simons is currently on loan at RB Leipzig from parent club Paris Saint-Germain, who themselves sold the young Dutchman to PSV in summer 2022 to only go and activate his €6m – £5m – buy-back clause in the summer.

Interestingly, his agent is currently Darren Dein, the son of Arsenal’s former co-owner David Dein.


Despite only re-signing him a few months ago, reports from Spain (via TEAMtalk) reported in October that the Parisian club would listen to offers around €50m – £43m – for their young starlet to turn a quick and hefty profit.

While that is a significant amount of money for a 20-year-old, the fact that he has been so effective in Germany – racking up 11 goal involvements in 17 games – and considered similar to Odegaard should be all the convincing Arteta needs.

How Xavi Simons compares to Martin Odegaard

Now, before discussing the things that make these two brilliant footballers so similar, it would make sense to note some of their differences, notably that while Odegaard has started all of his games for Arsenal in the midfield, the “fantastic talent” that is Simons, as described by talent scout Jacek Kulig, floats between being a winger and midfielder.

That said, the Norwegian has started a considerable number of games on the wing earlier in his career.

Nevertheless, when the exciting Dutchman starts in the middle of the park, FBref considers the Arsenal captain to be statistically the eighth most similar player across Europe’s top five leagues.

FBref has come to this conclusion based on where the pair rank as midfielders for specific attributes and figures across these leagues. For example, both players rank in the top 1% of players for shot-creating actions, the top 2% for non-penalty goals, and the top 4% for non-penalty expected goals.

There are more examples of staggering similarities where the pair aren’t exact matches, such as the “special” Simons, as described by U23 scout Antonio Mango, being in the top 1% for total shots, while Odegaard is in the best 2%.

Simons vs Odegaard: Ranking vs CMs in Europe for Key Stats

Xavi Simons

Stats per 90

Martin Odegaard

Top 1%

Shot-Creating Actions

Top 1%

Top 2%

Non-Penalty Goals

Top 2%

Top 4%

Non-Penalty Expected Goals

Top 4%

Top 1%

Total Shots

Top 2%

Top 2%

Non-Penalty Expected Goals + Assists

Top 4%

Top 2%

Progressive Passes Received

Top 5%

Top 4%

Expected Assists

Top 10%

All Stats via FBref

As we can see, both players are creative supremos from the middle of the pitch, ranking particularly high with regard to assists. They also usually find themselves in crucial pockets of space between midfield and defence as well, something substantiated by their high ranking for progressive passes received.

Ultimately, with Arsenal looking to add some extra creativity and flair to their midfield as their current crop of young players continues to improve, they should be going all out to secure the services of PSG’s flying Dutchman, especially as, according to Kulig, he’s got a “big future ahead”.

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