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Real Madrid: Odegaard, Jovic and the 'Peter Principle'


Luka Jovic has returned to Eintracht Frankfurt and looks happy there. A weight has been taken off his shoulders and he’s scoring goals again. He’s without doubt a good striker, and now he feels freed from the pressure that had overwhelmed him at Real Madrid, he’s rediscovered his form. He has complained about the lack of opportunities he had in Spain, but I’m not so sure that’s true: after all, Borja Mayoral was offloaded because of him and Mariano Díaz has always been behind him in the pecking order. His remarks were no more than a light grumble, but his desire not to return was clear when he said he’d stopped learning Spanish. He signed a five-year deal at the Bernabéu, but he seems convinced his career at the club is over.

Odegaard waxes lyrical about Arsenal after sealing loan move

Meanwhile, Martin Odegaard has heaped such praise on Arsenal - the Premier League is "the biggest", there's a "great project" at Arsenal, Mikel Arteta is a "top manager" - that, unsurprisingly, more than one Madridista’s nose has been left out of joint. But it's good to see a smile back on the lad's face at the Gunners, a club responsible for the 'WM' formation and many other footballing advances - almost a century ago. They’re now Europa League regulars and sit ninth in the English top flight. It’ll certainly be easier for him to establish himself as a key man there than at Madrid, where he began as a starter in the number-10 role, in a team structured in a way that should have been a perfect fit, and didn’t perform.

Succeeding at Arsenal or Frankfurt isn't the same as doing it at Real Madrid

Jovic and Odegaard’s departures don’t reflect awfully well on Zidane, who is routinely accused of not supporting the club’s strategy of signing up young talent. If the pair do well now, such accusations will only grow louder. But being a success at Arsenal or Frankfurt is not the same as doing the business at Madrid. Having both made good progress as players, they didn’t cut the mustard in the Spanish capital. Until they prove otherwise, they’re two more cases of the ‘Peter Principle’: they rose to their level of incompetence, in this case Madrid. These loan deals give them a chance to get back on track, be it to earn another crack at the whip at Madrid or secure a move that would bring in much-needed transfer revenue to a club paying for an expensive stadium revamp.