Martin Odegaard is thought to be keen on leaving Real Madrid this month, having not had the opportunities he thought he was going to get when he returned to the Bernabeu from his loan spell at Real Sociedad last season.
The Norwegian was wanted by every major club in Europe at the age of 15 and eventually joined Real soon after he turned 16 in January 2015.
Rumour has it he is primarily seeking a loan move this month, presumably still seeing his long-term future with Los Blancos, although that may not appeal to some of the bigger clubs bound to be on his tail if he is to become available. Many would likely prefer a permanent deal, which could be made to wait until summer because Real won’t easily give him up.
Here’s a look through a number of possible destinations for Odegaard, both permanent and temporary, as well as now or in the summer.
AC Milan are at last coming back in a big way and Odegaard could be the perfect January acquisition to give the Rossoneri an extra push in the Serie A title race in the second half of the season.
With the exception of the odd veteran like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Simon Kjaer, Milan have built a squad with largely up and coming young players in their early 20s and Odegaard fits the mould.
There may not be the budget for a big money January move and so a loan may fit the bill for all parties, allowing Real to remain in control of his future overall.
The wheels are already in motion when it comes to Sociedad’s interest in Odegaard.
AS report the Norwegian is pushing for a return to the side he starred with last season. His performances were generally of a high standard and he even helped Sociedad knock his parent side out of the Copa del Rey with a sublime performance at the Bernabeu.
San Sebastian probably makes the most sense of any potential destination, considering a loan return would keep him in La Liga. He’d also be able to play alongside Spanish legend David Silva, who joined the club in the summer.
Liverpool were among the clubs that Odegaard visited when he was making up his mind about where he would move from Stromsgodset all those years ago.
The Reds were European champions in 2019 and Premier League champions in 2020, but the time to think about rejuvenating a squad that will soon move past its peak, if it hasn’t already, has come.
Georginio Wijnaldum looks increasingly likely to move on when his contract expires at the end of the season, while the future of Mohamed Salah is also becoming uncertain. The Egyptian superstar isn’t desperate to leave and would be happy to stay, but he has other ambitions that remain unfulfilled and his representatives have already started weighing up possible options.
As an attacking central midfielder playing further forward than Jordan Henderson and Thiago, Odegaard could a perfect addition if the price is right.
Bayern Munich usually only invest big money in younger players who will have a long-term future at the club, like Leroy Sane, Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard and Corentin Tolisso, and Odegaard, at 22, still fits into that category.
According to a scout working for the club in Scandinavia, Bayern missed out last time around because they didn’t believe Odegaard was ready to move on when he did and suggested to the player that he stayed in Norway for another year.
He obviously didn’t choose that path, although remains one of the top talents in Europe and Bayern haven’t really replaced Thiago since his move to Liverpool because Marc Roca has failed to establish himself and is a different kind of player.
Kevin De Bruyne will be 30 at the start of next season and Manchester City may wish to start thinking about the future and a long-term replacement, especially having lost David Silva last year and Phil Foden typically playing higher up the pitch.
Pep Guardiola is one of the all-time great modern managers and looks determined to build a new team at City after recently signing a new contract until 2023.
It has been suggested that Guardiola had big plans for Odegaard when he was Bayern manager and the Bundesliga giants were among those chasing the Norwegian prodigy.
If there is going to be a market for Paul Pogba in the summer – that seems debatable amid the financial pressure many top clubs are still feeling – and the Frenchman is as keen to leave as Mino Raiola claims, Manchester United could so a lot worse than selling him and bringing in Odegaard.
If Pogba goes, and it is an if, a central midfielder with an attacking mindset will need to be high up their list of summer priorities. Odegaard, despite being a different kind of player with a very different physical build, would be a good addition.
United were among the club chasing the Norwegian when he was 15 and he even visited the club’s facilities at Carrington before eventually making up his mind.
If game time is what Odegaard is particularly seeking, he may be better pursuing a move just below the elite level, which served him so well at Real Sociedad.
Everton represent that and are an ambitious club seeking to finally break into the Champions League. That Carlo Ancelotti is the man in charge and the Toffees have previously managed to attract James Rodriguez to Merseyside is indicative of a certain appeal.
A club like Everton might be more willing to agree to a loan deal, where bigger sides like Manchester United and Liverpool would not. Perhaps an 18-month term, which would give Odegaard time to find his feet and still have the opportunity of a full season.