Back in December, Arsene Wenger made his first return to the Emirates Stadium since leaving his position as manager of the Gunners.
After watching the game from the stands, the former Gunners boss went down to the dressing room to meet the squad, or to hold a reunion with some of them – depending on the player.
Funnily enough, whilst academy graduate Bukayo Saka was one of those who hadn’t met Wenger before, recent signing Martin Odegaard was one of those who had.
The two had dinner along with Odegaard’s father eight years earlier, when Wenger was trying to convince the player to join Arsenal.
Speaking to The Players’ Tribune, Odegaard recalled his December reunion with the Arsenal legend.
“After the win over West Ham on Boxing Day, I got the chance to speak to Wenger,” Odegaard said.
“It was the first time he’d been back to the Emirates since 2018, and the first time I’d seen him since that steak and fries all those years ago.
“We had a good chat and he mentioned that he’d kept a close eye on my career even after I chose Madrid.
“He was honest and said that at one point he was actually worried about the way things were going for me, but now he’s so happy to see me doing well in the right environment.
“He’d recognised something. Ever since I left Norway, it’s like everything has felt sort of temporary. I haven’t had that stability, that real deep connection, until now, and that’s so important.”
Fortunately, Odegaard seems to have finally found his feet with Arsenal.
Perhaps rather unbelievably, the 24-year-old has already made more appearances for the Gunners than any other team, even if you group his games for Real Madrid and Real Madrid Castilla together.
The Norwegian international spent six years with Madrid, but it took just two with Arsenal to find the place in the team he never had in Spain.