Martin Odegaard: What next for the Real Madrid playmaker?
There was much fanfare over Norway international Odegaard when he arrived at Madrid as a 16-year-old in 2015. He has struggled to live up to that billing, though, featuring only 11 times for the first team.
In the interim, he has spent time away on loan at Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad. All of those loan deals have been successful.
Indeed, the manner in which he imposed himself at Sociedad last term seemed to have teed him up for additional game time at the Bernabeu.
That has not materialised, however. Instead, he has struggled for game time, particularly in recent weeks.
Aside from a five-minute cameo in a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo, he has not played in La Liga since the shock home loss to Alaves on 28th November.
Where could Odegaard move?
Options in Spain are thin on the ground. The likes of Sevilla and Atletico Madrid are well supplied in the No.10 role, while Villarreal do not play with such a system. Meanwhile, it is unlikely that he would go to an ailing Valencia side.
A return to Real Sociedad may be possible, however. La Real were the early pace setters in the league, and while they have dropped off that pace, they remain in Champions League contention.
Of course, they have David Silva to supply creativity in that area, and it is the veteran’s presence that would appear to be the biggest stumbling block. If Sociedad are not confident that Silva’s body can take regular action, he could become a luxury replacement for Odegaard.
Options in England
Arsenal are the Premier League club that most craves creativity and they have now been credited with an interest in Odegaard by The Athletic.
Of course, they are offloading Mesut Ozil, also signed from Madrid, to Fenerbahce, freeing up a big chunk of wages. Emile Smith Rowe has wowed in the role in recent weeks, but can he be seriously considered as a long-term option that will allow the Gunners to reach the top four? It would be a gamble.
Elsewhere, big-spending Leeds are a further option. Marcelo Bielsa’s men have been seeking a replacement for Pablo for some time. Odegaard would be an ambitious target, of course, but he is attainable and would appear to fit the jigsaw the Argentine is putting together.