Martin Odegaard has confirmed he could have signed for Arsenal when he was just 15, and he thinks his eventual move was ‘meant to be’.
As we reported all the way back in 2015, Martin Odegaard spent time training with Arsenal before joining Real Madrid. He reportedly visited the club before his 16th birthday in 2014, but he’d never confirmed as much publicly before today.
Speaking after completing his loan move to Arsenal, Odegaard addressed the rumours and admitted he consistently had a ‘good feeling’ about the club. Even if it’s just a loan, for now, the 22-year-old says maybe he was meant to end up here.
“Yeah, I was here,” Odegaard confirmed. “I visited the club and trained a little bit. I had a chat with the club and I had a really good feeling when I was here.
“I was thinking a lot about it. In the end, it wasn’t my decision at that time, but I had a really good time and I remember it well.
“When I was here the first time, I had a good feeling, and every time I heard about the club, I had a good feeling. And now I’m here, so I think it’s maybe meant to be.”
Odegaard has spent the last five-and-a-half years with Real Madrid as his parent club, but many of those have been away on loan.
He joined SC Heerenveen in the Eredivisie for the second half of 2016/17, before spending another year on loan with them in 2017/18. He then joined Vitesse for 2018/19, before spending 2019/20 in La Liga with Real Sociedad.
As a result, this season is the first one he’s actually been a proper part of the Real Madrid senior squad. He made nine appearances for them in the first half of the campaign, but from December onwards he mostly sat around on the bench.
It’s not easy breaking into the Real Madrid midfield. The players starting ahead of Odegaard in his last squad appearance against Osasuna were Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro.
When Modric came off in that game, he was replaced by Isco. Next to make a substitute appearance was Federico Valverde. So that should give you some idea of the competition Odegaard faced.
If Arsenal can show the player he has an important role to play with them for the next few months, perhaps he’ll consider whether he might be better off making the move permanent in the summer.