‘The Norwegian Messi’ who Pep Guardiola vowed to make the world’s best player and impressed Cristiano Ronaldo January 25, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer

Martin Odegaard is heading to the Premier League to join Arsenal on loan.

The Real Madrid playmaker is desperate for first-team football and is due in north London on Monday to undergo a medical at the Emirates.

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Odegaard’s creativity could help push Arsenal up the table

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 has had his contract terminated and joined Fenerbahce.

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…

Martin Odegaard – 2020/21

  • Age: 22
  • Club: Real Madrid
  • Position: Attacking midfielder
  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • La Liga appearances – 7
  • Goals: 0
  • Assists: 0
  • Starts – 3
  • Shots per game – 0.4
  • Pass success – 88.9 per cent

What’s the gossip?

Odegaard was desperate to force through an exit from the Spanish capital having barely played for Real this season after spending 2019/2020 at Real Sociedad.

He has started just one league game since the end of November and is eager for game time.

Arsenal moved to agree a loan deal and an agreement was reached last week over a deal which will see Odegaard join Mikel Arteta’s squad for the remainder of the campaign.

He was due to arrive in London Sunday and is set for a medical on Monday before putting the finishing touches to the move.

Odegaard has trained and played alongside some of the world’s best players, including Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos

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Odegaard has trained and played alongside some of the world’s best players, including Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos

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 Vitesse

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Odegaard had a breakthrough season at Vitesse

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.

Odegaard (middle) refused to celebrate after he had scored against Real Madrid last February

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Odegaard (middle) refused to celebrate after he had scored against Real Madrid last February

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.

International experience?

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 team

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Odegaard is a regular in the Norway team

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.

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.

“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.”

Odegaard replaced Ronaldo for his first senior appearance with Real Madrid’s first-team.

Odegaard replaced Ronaldo for his first senior appearance with Real Madrid’s first-team.

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.”

Now Real have allowed him to go and we can’t wait to see how he gets on at Arsenal in the Premier League.

How will he fit in to Arsenal’s team?

Potential Arsenal line-up

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