Mikel Arteta believes the arrival of Gabriel Jesus at Arsenal has already turned captain Martin Odegaard into a better and more influential player.
The Gunners’ preparations for the new season concluded in style on Saturday with a 6-0 thrashing of Sevilla at Emirates Stadium, with Jesus’ hat-trick coming alongside a double from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah’s strike off the bench.
Jesus’ quick start to life in north London has been a huge talking point since his signing from Manchester City, with the Brazilian netting seven pre-season goals.
Odegaard, meanwhile, was named as Arsenal’s permanent captain ahead of the win against Sevilla, and Arteta is confident the addition of Jesus will help the former Real Madrid playmaker hit new heights.
“Gaby makes Odegaard better. We needed someone to make him look better. The connection is there,” Arteta told a news conference after the win.
“Jesus plays with that intensity to win the ball and play in the opposition half. You can’t do that if players don’t work.
“His versatility is well known. He can play centrally, left, right. He can play in a two like he did with Eddie in pre-season. He gives us a lot of flexibility.”
Norway international Odegaard expressed delight at Arteta handing him the leadership role.
“Of course I was happy, proud and grateful for the trust and for him wanting me to be the captain,” Odegaard told Arsenal’s official website.
“That’s a big achievement for me and it’s nice to be part of such a good team, so I’m going to enjoy that.”
Arsenal begin the new Premier League season on Friday against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.