As Martin Ødegaard moves on from Castilla to the next step in his career, there is plenty of interest in how he will fare in Holland's top division. But how will Castilla fare without him? For the past 2 years he has been an integral part of the team, topping the assists and man of the match charts in his only full season with Castilla. He will definitely leave a huge gap which will need to be filled as soon as possible if Castilla want to do as well, but who is good enough to replace him? There have been rumours linking other prospects in his position to the club, but as Castilla are unable to bring anyone in for this window, it has to be someone already at the club for now. Here are 5 players that could take his spot for the remainder of this season, and next season as well:
Like Ødegaard, Muñoz also has been linked with a move away from Castilla to a higher league this season. He could and probably should still move away this January, but if he ends up staying, he will find himself playing a lot more than he has been so far this season. He is probably the front runner for Martin's spot. Muñoz plays in Martin's natural position of central attacking midfield and does it very well, but most importantly he can also be used out wide as Martin often was. Like Martin, he has also already made his first team debut, but unlike Martin he has captained Castilla on many occasions. If he stays he will be the player most likely to step into Martin's position for the rest of the season!
Borja Sánchez was arguably the best player from this years pre-season campaign, so it has come as a surprise that he has only featured once so far this season (coming on as a substitute at that). A very gifted central attacking midfielder, he will surely see more game time now that Ødegaard has moved on. If he does and is as reliable as he has been in friendlies or on loan to other clubs, then this could be the big break that he's been waiting for!
Mario Rodríguez is actually my favourite candidate to replace Martin. Another star of the summer, much like Borja Sánchez, Mario has not seen the game time his early form suggested he would get so far this season, but he has still played 10 times for Castilla. He has featured for the under-19s in their UEFA Youth League campaign however, and has starred against sides like Borussia Dortmund. A silky and skillful player, Mario plays mostly on the wing, but would make a fine attacking midfielder. He will be around Castilla beyond this season so could be a brilliant long-term replacement for Ødegaard.
One of my favourite current academy prospects, Holland youth international Mink Peeters would be a perfect replacement for Martin Ødegaard. He joined Madrid from the famous Ajax academy during the same week as Ødegaard, with the pair attracting a lot of attention for their skillful playing style. Mink, who knows Ødegaard well, can play in both attacking midfield or as a winger. I would go as far as to say that I would prefer Mink on the wing ahead of Ødegaard! Unfortunately Mink's progression at Madrid so far has been stalled due to a series of injuries, but if he can kick on and make the Castilla squad next season, then it would be a big platform for him to shine on.
Óscar Rodríguez is a gem of a player currently captaining the under-19s side. The Spanish youth international plays in central attacking midfield and has an eye for goal and brilliant vision. I'm pretty certain he’ll be close to the top of the list for promotion to Castilla next season, and if he is, then he will get the chance to instill some much needed magic in Castilla's attack now that Ødegaard has gone.
The other option is to of course wait until the transfer ban has expired and bring in an exciting talent to fill Martin's space, but there are already plenty of talented players at the club who could do the job nicely. Good luck to Martin Ødegaard at Heerenven, and hopefully the player that replaces him at Castilla can be as equally successful! Here are Martin's final Real Madrid Castilla Stats:
The benchmark for a replacement! Who would you have replace Martin Ødegaard? Be sure to let me know in the comments!