Mikel Arteta has a new Arsenal undroppable and it’s not William Saliba or Bukayo Saka

Arsenal and Mikel Arteta have a new undroppable who has overtaken William Saliba after latest Martin Odegaard statistic emerges.

Martin Odegaard and William Saliba are vying for the place of being Arsenal's most important player.

Martin Odegaard has become the most undroppable player in Mikel Arteta’s side despite his dip in goalscoring form. Last season, as Arsenal took on Manchester City in a surprise title race, elevating fan expectations for the new season and cementing the Spanish coach as one of the world’s most exciting managerial talents, the Norwegian took his game to another level.

Scoring 15 goals from open play, the joint-most of any midfielder in Premier League history, Odegaard helped his side spread the goals across the team with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka all being key figureheads in the Gunners’ numbers. A tally which reached 88 for the season, the highest of any Arsenal total for a Premier League campaign.

Odegaard has just four league goals this season and has seen his role become more dictatorial as a result of Xhaka’s exit and being replaced by several players like Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Leandro Trossard at times. However, after becoming the first player since the Invincibles season to contribute 100-plus passes, create five chances and contribute multiple assists in the same game against West Ham he also reached another milestone.

Odegaard became the first player to reach 50-plus chances created for any player in the top five leagues in Europe. His assist tally stands however at just six, whilst only two off last season’s league total in its entirety the Norwegian will surely feel like he should have more.

According to FBRef, for the last 365 days in Europe’s top five leagues, he is in the 99th percentile for shot-creating actions, 97th for touches in the opponent’s penalty area and 97th percentile for non-penalty goals.

These numbers certainly have enabled Odegaard to rise above the likes of William Saliba as Arteta’s most-important player. Lose the Norwegian and there is real question marks over how the club can replace what he produces for the team.

Although there is good evidence that once again the Gunners are on track to reach the 88-goal total of last season, or even beat it, being one goal ahead of their tally at the same stage last season there is also an important question being raised if Arsenal have such a creative force in their side and not yet seeing the ultimate benefits. It does of course lie at centre-forward and the question of whether combining Odegaard with an elite striker could transform both his and his team’s numbers.

Imagining what Arsenal might look like if his compatriot Erling Haaland was in north London instead of Manchester is an exciting yet unreachable reality. However, this upcoming summer the club are interested in adding a striker, football.london understands, and if they are to spend big on one they must get it right.

Names like Ivan Toney, Victor Osimhen and Benjamin Sesko have been brought up throughout the season however a standout candidate is yet to emerge. It remains the most key position however that sporting director Edu Gaspar must land correctly for Arteta’s project to thrive and progress.

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