Martin Odegaard trained away from his gym mates at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas Training Stadium on Thursday.
His split was partly because he had not played any role in the Copa del Rey disaster against Alcoyano, and thus there was no need to be part of the apparent investigation that occurred after the worst Madrid Cup result since 2009.
But it was also because he hopes his future is resolved as quickly as possible and is on loan by the time Real Madrid face Alaves on Saturday. Arsenal is an attractive option for the 22-year-old. He could have moved to the Premier League in 2015 when he was picking one of the best European clubs at the age of 16.
Martin Odegaard has appeared only nine times for Real Madrid this season and is set to take out on loan
He has been on a loan trip since he chose to move to Real Madrid and failed to make enough progress, initially in Zinedine Zidane’s youth team “Real Madrid Castilla”.
The last of these loans was at Real Socied last season and it is no wonder that they want to compete with Arsenal to borrow him again for the remainder of this campaign.
There is no final award for the best player in Spain. If that were the case, Odegaard would have been on track to win it last season before the coronavirus pandemic shut down football for two months.
The player is no longer the same after being laid off, but if Arsenal signs him – negotiations began last week and reports in Spain say he is one step away – he manages to reconnect him in the way he was in the first half. Last season they would have one of the best young players in Europe in their hands.
Real Madrid star Luka Modric challenges Odegaard while playing for Real Sociedad
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta (right) wants to add an attacking midfielder to his squad this month and could remove Odegaard from Zinedine Zidane’s hand.
Of Real Sociedad’s first 21 matches last season, Odegaard played 90 minutes in 19 of them. His strong runs from midfield, his defensive passes and his strong performance were the engine that left Real Sociedad in the Champions League spots before the closure. When the football stadium stopped, so did the Norwegian. In the last 10 matches of the season he did not play 90 minutes once.
Chronic tendinitis problems in his right knee held him back during that round, but he seemed to be steady and good to make a comeback early this season when Zidane picked him in Real Madrid’s first game of the new season.
Having previously agreed to be allowed to stay at Real Sociedad for two seasons, Real Madrid called him up in the summer in response to the economic impacts of the pandemic that had prevented the club’s players from being included. But it turned out to be the wrong move for everyone.
The Norwegian, who is just 22 years old, trains with Real Madrid earlier this month
He was knocked out after 69 minutes in that first game and despite starting the next match, he was knocked out in the first half and spent the next seven in the starting line-up. He did not play a single 90 minutes in the league and although he trained well before the cup defeat away at Alcoyano, he was not in Zidane’s squad.
It appears that this decision was made by him after he played no role in Real Madrid’s defeat in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Athletic Bilbao last weekend.
Just 48 hours earlier, he sought assurances from Zidane that he was on the cutting edge of his plans. Odegaard’s relationship has always been a little strained with Zidane.
When he made his debut in Madrid, it looked like he would live a dream of coaching under the Frenchman and sometimes with the first team as he joined their sessions. But the deal, despite everything stipulated in his contract, was not looked upon kindly by Zidane who also had his son Enzo as an option in Odegaard’s favorite No.10 spot at the time.
Zidane’s relationship with Odegaard has been tense since he was Castia’s coach – the duo were photographed during the tie with Villarreal last November.
Much has changed since then. Odegaard is back a more complete player. He can play as a side midfielder in 4-3-3 or in a three-line behind the striker in 4-2-3-1, albeit more comfortable in the middle of the three.
His versatility made Zidane’s inability to find space for himself in the team even more frustrating. The French coach is not burdened with midfield options that go beyond the tried and trusted holy trinity: Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luca Modric.
Can Arsenal get it despite Real Sociedad’s interest? Basque FC brought in David Silva in the summer to replace Odegaard, and although he is currently injured, they are well covered in those midfield positions and may feel that if they had to make financial sacrifices to get him back, they wouldn’t be able to. Will he succeed in Arsenal? The only suspicion is injury. Tendinitis is a long-term problem that requires rest, but the player seems to think they have overlooked it and want to play.
If he’s fit, there are no questions about his quality – just ask the Real Sociedad supporters who watched him play for their team in the top four last season.