Real unsure of Odegaard's future amidst transfer talk

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Villarreal v Real Madrid - Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain - November 21, 2020 Real Madrid's Martin Odegaard reacts REUTERS/Albert Gea

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard's future is still up in the air, assistant coach David Bettoni said on Friday after the Norway international was linked with a move to Arsenal.

Sky Sports reported the Premier League club are in advanced talks to sign Odegaard on loan and Bettoni, stepping in for coach Zinedine Zidane who has tested positive for COVID-19, said he did not know what the club's plans were for the 22-year-old.

"I'm not sure what's going on with Martin, however what I do know is that he's a very important player for us here - as everyone in the squad is," Bettoni told a news conference.

Odegaard joined Real as a 16-year-old in 2015. Last season he was impressive on loan at Real Sociedad and was recalled a year early by Madrid but he has struggled for game time in the current campaign, starting just three times in La Liga.

Real are reeling after being embarrassingly knocked out of the the Copa del Rey by third-tier side Alcoyano in midweek and need to bounce back when they travel to Alaves on Saturday.

"Every time Madrid loses, there's always criticism," he said. "We have experience and we know how to respond. Tomorrow is another chance to show how together we are. The boys are full of energy and ready to go again tomorrow.

"We've trained well, and we're only focused on the game now. It's a chance for us, and we'll put the finer details to our preparation tomorrow. Zidane will be with us every step of the way."

A depleted Real will be without captain Sergio Ramos, who has a knee injury, while fellow defenders Dani Carvajal and Nacho will also be absent for the trip to the Basque country.

They are joined on the sidelines by midfielder Federico Valverde, who has an adductor issue, while long-term absentee Rodrygo continues to recover from a hamstring problem.

The champions are second in the table with 37 points from 18 games, seven behind leaders Atletico Madrid having played a game more than their local rivals.

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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