Martin Odegaard looks set to be on his way to the Premier League with Arsenal.
The Real Madrid playmaker is desperate for first-team football and is reportedly close to joining on loan.
Odegaard’s creativity could help push Arsenal up the tableGetty Images – Getty
Odegaard became Real Madrid’s youngest debutant at 16 years and 157 days old when coming on for Cristiano Ronaldo in a 7-3 win over Getafe in May 2015.
The 22-year-old was once dubbed ‘The Norwegian Messi’ and could be the perfect replacement for Mesut Ozil, who is Fenerbahce-bound.
The Gunners have turned to home-grown wonderkid Emile Smith Rowe for the moment but adding another talented youngster will help bolster a problem area..
Below talkSPORT.com gives an in-depth insight into all you need to know about Odegaard…
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Martin Odegaard – 2020/21
Club: Real Madrid
Position: Attacking midfielder
La Liga appearances – 7
Starts – 3
Shots per game – 0.4
Pass success – 88.9 per cent
What’s the gossip?
Odegaard has reportedly handed in a transfer request to force through an exit from the Spanish capital.
Spanish outlet El Confidencial claim ‘Arsenal will be the Norwegian’s destiny’, while Sport say he is ‘one step away’ from joining Arsenal, with a loan deal ‘very close’.
talkSPORT transfer guru Alex Crook has confirmed Arsenal’s interest.
He said: “There is genuine interest from Arsenal in Martin Odegaard.
Odegaard has trained and played alongside some of the world’s best players, including Ronaldo and Sergio RamosGetty Images – Getty
“He was a bit of a wonderkid when he joined Real Madrid, he was just 16, but it hasn’t quite worked out for him.
“Arsenal would like to bring him in on a loan deal for the rest of the season.
“I wonder if the presence of Dani Ceballos, someone Odegaard would have rubbed shoulders with at the Bernabeu, may help Arsenal get this one over the line.
“There is genuine competition from Real Socieded in Spain.”
£80,000-a-week teenager Martin Odegaard laid on two Messi-esque assists for Real Madrid Castilla this weekend pic.twitter.com/5ErxfG9s4z
— Complex UK (@complex_uk) February 16, 2016
Club career so far?
Real Madrid signed Odegaard, who was 16 at the time, for £2.3million from Norwegian minnows Stromsgodset in 2015.
After making his LaLiga debut and then his first start in a 6-1 Copa del Rey win against Cultural Leonesa in November 2016, he was loaned to Eredivisie side Heerenveen.
He failed to hit the ground running, though, as it took him 15 appearances to score his first goal for the club.
Overall, his 18 months with Heerenveen was deemed a success as he helped them to an eighth-placed finish in the 2017/18 campaign.
Odegaard’s next loan spell saw him stay in Holland with Vitesse where he was converted into a right winger.
Odegaard had a breakthrough season at VitesseGetty Images – Getty
He was voted Vitesse’s player of the 2018/19 season as he scored 11 goals and provided 12 assists in 39 games.
Odegaard finally returned to Spain, but was loaned out to LaLiga club Real Sociedad for the 2019/20 season where he proved his worth.
The playmaker scored four goals and registered six assists in the league, and also netted in a Copa del Rey quarter-final victory over his parent club.
If there was a #Puskas award solely for assists, @RealSociedad’s Martin Odegaard would be a definite early front-runner! pic.twitter.com/tJqSr0fOB6
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) September 27, 2019
Odegaard (middle) refused to celebrate after he had scored against Real Madrid last FebruaryGetty Images – Getty
His impressive performances convinced Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane to hand him a first-team chance for the 2020/21 season.
However, Odegaard has started just three LaLiga games and now appears to be surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu.
After appearing for Norway’s Under-15, 16, 17 and 21 teams, Odegaard made his senior debut in August 2014.
He became Norway’s youngest debutant at 15 years and 253 days old.
Odegaard has won 25 caps for his country, scoring once.
Odegaard is a regular in the Norway teamGetty Images – Getty
What is being said about him?
Former Norway striker Jan Age Fjortoft claims Pep Guardiola once wanted to make Odegaard the ‘best player in the world’ during his time in charge of Bayern Munich… just a year before the player signed for Real Madrid.
Very true story! https://t.co/kbYoz4EoTt
— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) January 22, 2021
Carlo Ancelotti, who was Real Madrid’s manager when Odegaard arrived, alleged the signing was a ‘PR exercise’ by president Florentino Perez.
He wrote in his book Quiet Leadership: “When Florentino buys a Norwegian footballer, you simply have to accept it.
“Furthermore, the president decided that he would play three games with the first team as a public relations exercise.”
Back in 2015, Ronaldo gave Odegaard a glowing reference and praised his left foot.
He said: “You see many players with potential. I will mention Martin Odegaard of Madrid for example, at 16 he’s still young but you can see he’s a very good player.
“He’s a great player, I think he’s a young boy, he can still grow.
Odegaard replaced Ronaldo for his first senior appearance with Real Madrid’s first-team.
“He has a good future ahead. We must give him time to learn, to take his best decisions. But I see a lot of potential in the player, he has got a good left foot.”
Earlier this month, Zidane backed Odegaard to succeed at Real Madrid.
He said: “Let him continue working, he is a beloved player and he will surely succeed here.
“He has not played much lately but the idea is to keep working hard; he will have minutes.
“He will provide insurance. This is a specific moment. In a race things happen to the players, but he is not discouraged.”
How will he fit in to Arsenal’s team?