There were many Arsenal fans that were not impressed by Martin Odegaard when Mikel Arteta went all out to bring him in for a six month loan, and were even less impressed when Arteta actually went the whole hog and signed him permanently.
But the fact is that the Norwegian has shown his incredible potential from a very early age, and even made his full debut for his country when he was just 16 years old. That potential has now come to fruition and he went on to become the captain of Norway, and now he has been made captain of Arsenal at the tender age of 23.
He has been followed widely by lots of big clubs and sites specially dedicated to football fans from a very early age. This is an example from Wikipedia, where they quoted former football manager Lars Tjærnås during a nationwide tournament for under-16s: He said: “The best 15-year-olds in the country were gathered for a tournament between the top clubs… It was definitely not the first time he had astonished his opponents or the spectators. He was three or four years younger than the others. It was impossible not to realize that we were witnessing something out of the ordinary.”
He had massive clubs from all over Europe vying to give him his first progessional contract, and now Jurgen Klopp has admitted he was one of those suitors, and it sounds like he thought he had convinced him to join Liverpool. This is what he told the official Reds website this morning: “Martin Odegaard, I spoke to him when he was 15 from Norway when the whole world wanted him and he decided for Real Madrid. I remember as it would have been yesterday that we sat on a table with his dad and we were all so excited. Then came a few difficult years, which is normal when you are that much in the spotlight. So, he became the player everybody expected him to be that time.”
It was amazing that he was snapped up at just 17 by arguably the most successful team in the world, Real Madrid. He may not have progessed enough to break into their team of Galacticos, but he has gained such varied experience from being loaned out and playing in Holland and Spain before fortunately ending up at the Emirates.
Considering he is just 23, we should be extremely happy that he should still mature into a truly world class act under Arteta, as he may well have done if he had played under Klopp as well.
But we’ll never know, nor will Klopp!