Arsenal: Man Utd star wouldn’t replace ‘perfect’ Odegaard – Darren Bent

Darren Bent wouldn't swap Martin Odegaard for Bruno Fernandes

Darren Bent wouldn’t swap Martin Odegaard for Bruno Fernandes (Pictures: Getty/Sky Sports)

Former England striker and Arsenal fan Darren Bent says he wouldn’t swap ‘perfect’ Martin Odegaard for Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes.

Norway international Odegaard has enjoyed an impressive season for the Gunners, scoring five goals and making three assists in the Premier League to help Arsenal climb into the top-four.

Bent is a huge admirer of Odegaard and claims Manchester United’s influential midfielder Fernandes wouldn’t replace the 23-year-old at Arsenal.

Fernandes, 27, has scored 35 goals and made 25 assists in 78 Premier League games since joining United from Sporting Lisbon in 2020.

‘Of course, he’s been a very good player for Manchester United, but I’m still waiting for him to turn up when they really need him in those big games,’ Bent said of Fernandes.

Asked by talkSPORT host Andy Goldstein if he was being harsh on Fernandes, who he would surely love to see at his beloved Gunners, Bent replied: ‘No, I wouldn’t – I’ll tell you that right now. No, I would not.

‘Right now, I’d rather have Martin Odegaard with the way Arsenal are playing. I’m taking Odegaard in that role for Arsenal. He’s perfect for what Arsenal are doing right now. I wouldn’t swap him for Bruno.’

Odegaard has been one of Arsenal's best players this season

Odegaard has been one of Arsenal’s best players this season (Picture: Getty)

Odegaard has also attracted praise from an Arsenal legend this week, with Paul Merson insisting the former Real Madrid player is now ‘one of the best players in the Premier League’.

‘Martin Odegaard has proved me wrong and is becoming the leader Arsenal need to pass their toughest test yet,’ Merson told the Daily Star.

‘He is the main man there now and the first name on the teamsheet for me. He has really improved and is doing the business.

‘I think the players respect him because they can see he’s a real player. I didn’t see it at first, I have to admit.

‘It looked like he didn’t really want to leave Real Madrid, and I didn’t think he pulled up any trees on his loan spell at Arsenal.

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‘He could have sulked and lost his confidence when Madrid didn’t want him any more, but he’s playing better than ever now. He’s Arsenal’s go-to man and he makes them tick.

‘He isn’t a leader in terms of running around and kicking people or barking out orders. But in terms of the way he’s playing he is.

‘The way he’s turned it around people are looking at him now and fair play, he has done very, very well. He always wants the ball and knows how to use it. That’s leadership too.

‘I take my hat off to him because he’s top, top drawer. One of the best in the Premier League in my opinion.’

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are fourth in the Premier League – three points above north London and top-four rivals Tottenham – and return to action on April 4 against Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace.

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