The MSR advent calendar: Our favorite signings that never happened: Door 13 – Martin Ødegaard
And indeed: The media reported as early as December 2014 that Ødegaard was on the verge of a move to Munich. Allegedly, however, the talent saw better sporting prospects in Madrid.
Ødegaard went on to play for Zinédine Zidane in Madrid’s second team, and things quietened down again around his career. In Germany in particular, the hype surrounding the supposed “talent of the century” has died down. But why actually?
Ødegaard today is still only 21 years old and has already had a remarkable career. After a rather mixed first spell in Spain, he moved to Heerenveen on loan in 2017. There, too, he needed time to settle in and, after his loan spell had ended, was loaned out again to the Netherlands – this time to Vitesse Arnhem.
There Ødegaard took off, scoring 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 39 games. However, his next destination was not Real Madrid but Real Sociedad. There, Ødegaard regularly delivered strong performances last season, scoring seven goals and setting up another nine. According to transfermarkt.de, his current market value is €45m.
This year, the Norwegian has his second attempt at making the breakthrough at his parent club Real Madrid, this time in the first team. In his 362 minutes of competitive football so far this season, he has been able to show what he is capable of, even though he has not yet scored a goal.
FC Bayern could certainly do with a player of his profile right now. Ødegaard is strong in tight spaces and dazzles the audience with his technically demanding and efficient dribbles and his drive towards goal. At the same time, he is quite versatile too: He has qualities to offer both on the right wing and centrally behind the forward line. Given proper instructions and training, he could also act as an offensive number eight.
In any case, Bayern would have done little wrong with a 15-year-old for a rumoured transfer fee of €2 to 4m. Things may have quietened down around Ødegaard. But just because the hype is over does not mean his career is.
However, his can hardly be called a missed transfer. Despite Pep Guardiola and his best efforts, they were simply without a chance against perhaps the only club superior to Bayern in terms of attraction and pull. Just as with so many other non-transfers, Bayern have found a way even without Ødegaard. Seeing the Norwegian in the red Bayern shirt is nevertheless a dream of mine that I would like to have seen come true.
Hint: With Michael Ballack, perhaps the last true number 10 in the club’s history left the club in 2006. Bayern seemed to underestimate this loss, changed their basic shape and lost a lot of quality. Behind the next door is a player who could have prevented this.