Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insists Martin Odegaard could still have a future at the club amid reported renewed interest from Arsenal.
The Norway international is expected to be left out of Madrid’s matchday squad for their LaLiga opener against Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.
After the news emerged in Spain, reports surfaced in England that Arsenal had opened talks with Los Blancos over the prospect of signing Odegaard before the transfer window closes.
The 22-year-old, said to be valued in the region of €40million, made 14 Premier League appearances during a loan spell with the Gunners last season.
However, Ancelotti does not appear to have made a decision on Odegaard’s future, or that of fellow fringe players Jesus Vallejo and Dani Ceballos.
“The fact they’ve not been named in the squad is down just to technical issues,” he said on Friday. “The final list [for the 2021-22 season] doesn’t have to be confirmed until September 2.
“Odegaard has done well. We had a chat and of course, there is a lot of competition in midfield. We have eight very good midfielders.
“He hasn’t been dropped, nor has Ceballos, nor Vallejo.”
Madrid kick-start their campaign in what will be Ancelotti’s first competitive match in charge since he returned to the club from Everton.
Gareth Bale is expected to be involved, having also gone back to the Santiago Bernabeu after spending last season on loan with Tottenham, with previous Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane deeming him surplus to requirements.
Ancelotti now wants to see Bale prove his worth to the club on the pitch.
“He’s a great player, perhaps he quite hasn’t lived up to expectations in recent times but I’ve seen him train every day with great enthusiasm and we have to see how he plays. The talking has to be done on the pitch,” Ancelotti added.
“There’s competition for places – if players don’t play well, there are other players. This is good, it’s extra motivation. But he’s been very good during this first month back, but we’ll see how he performs out on the pitch.”
Ancelotti is also hoping for a strong start to the season from Eden Hazard, whose career in LaLiga has been blighted by injuries.
The Belgium star has scored just four goals in 21 league starts since his reported €100m transfer from Chelsea in 2019 and did not once complete a full match in the top flight in 2020-21.
“He’s been training with the team for about 10 days, he’s fit and ready to play,” Ancelotti said. “He’s a key player in this team and I’m confident we’ll see the best Eden Hazard this season. “