Real Madrid show forward thinking by snapping up Martin Odegaard
Real Madrid, 11/4 chances with Coral to win the Champions League, have caused a stir with their recent signing of 16-year-old attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard.
Before the youngster has even set foot on the illustrious Bernabeu pitch, Los Blancos can already call their latest acquisition, rumoured to have cost around £2.3m from Norwegian side Stormgodset, a serious coup.
An exciting talent, Norway international Odegaard is believed to have signed a contract which could see him earn £80k a week. It may seem outlandish and risky to fork out so much for a teenager, but Carlo Ancelotti and co have little to lose from this scenario, unlike their newest recruit.
The benefits for Real far outstrip any potential pitfalls, especially considering the attention that Odegaard’s grand European tour garnered.
As the victors of a transfer tussle that reportedly included the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester United, Madrid have not only taken a potential top talent off the market but have also won the PR battle.
The message is clear: Real are the biggest lure in club football, and not even Barca or Odegaard’s supposed boyhood club Liverpool can compete.
Having snatched one of the most highly-rated talents from under everyone’s noses, the Spanish giants can now edge their way into the Scandinavian shirt sales market. Countries such as Norway and Denmark have long-favoured Premier League clubs, with heroes like Peter Schmeichel and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having plied their trade in England.
Los Blancos, meanwhile, have not boasted a true top talent from Scandinavian shores since Michael Laudrup strutted his stuff at the Bernabeu. If Odegaard turns out to be half the prodigy he is touted to be, so much the better, but the situation is win-win for Real.
Apart from the financial rewards and prestige, however, how can Odegaard’s career path prosper at a club notorious for splurging on superstars and discarding players every time a new prospect appears on the scene?
Madrid’s Castilla has produced many a star, with notable graduates including Juan Mata and Samuel Eto’o, they just don’t always get the chance to play for their parent club.
Odegaard seems to be a smart cookie after taking his time to consider all options available, so will surely have received assurances from the Los Blancos hierarchy regarding his development.
In the end it will be up to Odegaard, already capped three times for Norway, to ensure he does not become the latest ‘next big thing’ to fade into obscurity in Real’s ranks.
Already the youngest player to ever appear for his nation, and play and score in the Tippeligaen, record-breaking Odegaard, who is rumoured to have a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque work ethic in training, has tricky feet and an eye for goal.
What scouts have praised Los Blancos’ newest addition for, however, is an intelligence, understanding and decision making that sets him apart from his contemporaries.
Supposedly wise beyond his years on the pitch, perhaps Odegaard deserves the benefit of the doubt for his decisions off the field as well. Maybe the latest Real sensation can break the mould at the Bernabeu. Norway fans will certainly be hoping so.