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What's next for Martin Ødegaard?

The young Norwegian seems set to move in the January window – but will he?

Levante UD v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Media talk once more is all about whether Martin Ødegaard is likely to move on in 2017. We’re halfway through the season and yet again it seems that just about every team in Europe is keen to take the young Norwegian on loan.

As reported in AS Sports this morning, the latest contenders are Dutch sides Ajax and Heerenveen. Both are reported to be in talks with Real Madrid and the player himself; and this time it looks as though young Martin will be on the move. If not to either of the two clubs mentioned, the potential certainly exists for a move elsewhere and there will no doubt be plenty of candidates.

It seems as though whenever the transfer window comes around Martin is always discussed in the media. He’s been linked with a whole host of clubs from Liverpool to PSG, from Betis to Bayern and there was even talk at one stage of Pep taking him to Manchester City. Martin is eighteen now and although his involvement with Real Madrid’s first team has been a regular one to date, sadly his appearances haven’t.

It can’t have been easy coming to Madrid at such a young age. Martin Ødegaard didn’t get the best of welcomes at Castilla and found it difficult to fit into the team. Playing with Castilla at weekends while frequently training with Real’s first team squad could well have left him feeling in between both camps up to a point.

Credit needs to be given for the way he adapted and showed his worth in the games where Zinedene Zidane did pick him for the first team.

However… he’s been at the club for almost two years now and would probably have expected to be a first-team regular by now. That second year in between turning seventeen and eighteen would have been the time when Martin would have been looking to gain a first-team place and make it his own.

He’s certainly attracted the attention of the opposition in Spain, and for sure there are several clubs in La Liga who would be delighted to have the name Martin Ødegaard on their squad list. I wonder if Martin looks at some of Real’s opponents and sees players of his own age who are perhaps less talented than him turning out in their first teams on a more regular basis.

The football world is a very small one particularly in Europe. Players and coaches know everyone else and talk among themselves. If Martin decides that enough is enough and feels the time is right to move on then he’s certainly going to remain high profile as far as Real Madrid are concerned. If he goes out on loan as seems to the preferred option for most youngsters who have still to realise their first-team potential, then Zidane will be keeping a regular eye on his performance wherever – or if ever – he goes.

The mid-season break that’s just ended will have given Martin the opportunity to have a think about his immediate future and allow him to weigh up his options at this time; not forgetting the longer-term ambitions of turning out for Real Madrid’s first team.

I wonder if the chance came to play for one of the leading clubs in the top ten of La Liga would he be tempted at this point?

The desire to play regular first-team football may prove to be too strong for Martin Ødegaard at this stage in his career even if it’s somewhere else; and therein may lie the key. If he stays another season confined to Castilla he may well find that a window of opportunity has been missed.

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