After Real Madrid return from their tour of the US, the Norway midfielder will have to elect a new destination with his position well-covered this season.
In December 2014, Martin Odegaard was presented to the media at the Bernabéu among considerable fanfare, club legend Emilio Butragueño presenting the 16-year-old with his shirt amid huge expectations surrounding a player who had been courted by most of Europe’s heavyweights after exploding onto the scene at Stromsgodset.
However, three and half years later, the prodigious talent who made his senior international debut at 15 still seems to be looking to regain the spark that started a scramble for signature shortly afterwards.
After 18 months on loan at Eredivisie side Heerenveen, Odegaard was included on Real Madrid’s tour of the US but has accepted that he will be farmed out on another loan for the 2018-19 season.
Signed by Madrid for 2.1 million euros to with Bayern Munich circling, former Real boss Carlo Ancelotti later described the move as a “public relations exercise” and although Odegaard would train with the first team, he was sent to Zinedine Zidane’s Castilla to gain competitive experience.
When Rafa Benítez took over at the Bernabéu six months later Odegaard’s fortunes hardly improved, the Spaniard scarcely using him during his pre-season. The same would be true under Zidane a year later.
Odegaard. Now 19, has grown physically, but in footballing terms he has not reached the level many predicted when he was signed. At Castilla he scored just five times in 58 games and managed only two in 38 in the Netherlands, despite showing flashes of his undeniable skill on the ball.
Odegaard likely to join a LaLiga side for 2018-19
On the US tour, he would have been hoping to take advantage of the slowly assembling senior squad to give Julen Lopetegui something to jot down in his notebook but has yet to find his feet over the pond. Against Manchester United he came off the bench in the 46th minute, missed a decent chance and was substituted half an hour later. Lopetegui handed him just 12 minutes at the end of Real’s 3-1 victory over Juventus.
Odegaard changed his agent in May, hiring Bjorn Tore Kvarme in place of Tore Pedersen. Kvarme has plenty of knowledge of the Spanish league (he played for Real Sociedad) and Odegaard has said that a loan to a Liga side would be a good option at this stage.
A few days ago, Kvarme said that “talks with Madrid have been good” but added: “When pre-season is over we’ll sort out his future.”
That future appears to be elsewhere, with Isco, Marco Asensio, Dani Ceballos and Vinicius Junior all vying for the forward midfield positions.