20 year old Norwegian midfielder Martin Ødegaard, is not a name that most will be familiar with but he is beginning to be of interest to a number of clubs. Currently with Real Sociedad, on loan from Real Madrid, the winger, midfielder/playmaker is apparently on the radar of Arsenal and Manchester City and whilst comparisons between the youngster and Kevin De Bruyne are slightly premature, he certainly has bags of ability.
The exciting thing about Ødegaard is his footwork, especially when in tight against the opposition. The left footed player drops his shoulder left and right, goes back before going forward and can cut through three players, leaving them looking bemused.
Ødegaard can assume the role of creator with a deft touch, cutting pass or variety of long or short balls, but he can also press from the middle and go on a devastating run to the oppositions box.
Dribbling is probably his most devastating asset in his locker and he has completed 3.2 on average during every match this season. The midfielders first and second touches are excellent and the only players that I’ve seen that have exhibited this at the highest level are the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp.
Ødegaard possesses a keen eye for goal and can shoot from distance but it’s the trickery he produces that makes him stand out with little dummies, side steps, flicks and back heels that suggest a wealth of talent.
Ødegaard is also a competitor with a desire to work for the ball. Ødegaard thinks nothing about tracking back to defend and is quite good at toe poaching the ball to head up field in attack.
Although premiership clubs will be interested, Real Madrid won’t sell Ødegaard for peanuts. It cost £15m to loan Dani Ceballos for a season, so if a deal is to be done, suitors could be looking at a hefty price tag of at least £70m.
However you get a lot of bang for your buck and if he plays half as good in the premier league as he has recently in La Liga, it would be a shrewd investment with many good years ahead of him.
Arsenal are continuously linked with players, none more so than midfielders because that area hasn’t stabilised under Unai Emery. If Ødegaard were a target for Arsenal, they may well revert to a 4-4-2 with the Norwegian joining Matteo Guendouzi in the midfield and that would be something of a very special pairing.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the summer but the name is an exciting one to add to an ocean of others generated by an enthusiastic press.