Martin Odegaard arrived at Real Madrid at the age of 16 and was touted as a future global superstar with many big European sides fighting for his signature with the player ultimately morning to the Spanish capital. He arrived at the club with a clause stipulating that he had to train with the first team which led to friction with his RM Castilla team-mates. The teenager was later sent out on loan to Dutch sides Heerenveen and Vitesse and was truly impressive during his loan spell with Real Sociedad. He returned to the capital with anticipation high that he would turn it on for Real Madrid but a disappointing start to the 2020/21 season set the tone for a lackluster campaign where he was sent out on loan again, this time to Premier League side Arsenal. Now the Norwegian packs his bags and returns to the North London club on a permanent move with Madrid exercising a preferential right to sign the midfielder in the future.
Odegaard is your typical offensive creative central midfielder, a player with great control, fantastic vision but with a tendency to stay in a central position. The Norwegian also has a canny ability to pick out a through ball and have his colleagues do the running. Former Real Madrid coach Benito Floro had a catchphrase which claimed that a creative central midfielder was "half a player". With Real Madrid, Odegaard was deemed to be lacking in mobility and was surplus to Zidane's requirements in his 4-3-3 formation with the French coach anxious to see all players work in both offensive and defensive capacities. Ancelotti too is a firm believer in a 4-3-3 and a player with Odegaard's characteristics can only really thrive in a 4-4-2 formation.
To be fair, Real Madrid have a well serviced roster of central players with Kubo and Brahim already out on loan. Isco, Asensio, Rodrygo will compete with the likes of Hazard and Bale to play in the centre alongside the likes of Modric, Valverde, Kroos and Casemiro and Ancelotti may end up having to play some of these individuals out of position with the likes of Isco having played on the flank previously. In a 4-4-2 situation, a player such as Odegaard is not expected to be heavily involved in defensive duties with the primary focus on creating and attacking. Both a fit Eden Hazard or Gareth Bale will be the favourites to play in this role with both the Belgian and Welsh internationals both unique in their ability to get amongst the goals playing in this position.