Manchester United are leading Bayern Munich in the race to sign 15-year-old Stromsgodset attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard, who has been dubbed the ‘new Lionel Messi’. The teenager is poised to make history by becoming Norway’s youngest ever international following his shock call-up to the senior national team.
News of Manchester United’s interest comes courtesy of the Express, who reveal that Odegaard has already trained with the Red Devils and Bayern Munich, impressing coaches at both clubs thanks to his skill and technique.
Odegaard to follow Januzaj's footsteps?
United boss Louis van Gaal is keen to add the starlet to the club’s development squad, in the hope that he will blossom into another Adnan Januzaj, the Belgium international who arrived at Old Trafford in 2011 at the tender age of 16 before making his senior debut two years later.
Odegaard, incidentally, shares many of the same qualities as Januzaj. He is left footed and boasts exceptional close control, which allows him to glide past defenders. The Norway Under-17 international can also pick a pass and boasts a keen eye for goal.
But it’s his remarkable maturity which has especially caught the eye of Europe’s most revered coaches. This is a youngster playing in the Norwegian top flight - for one of the division’s top clubs - and looking assured up against players twice his age.
That Norway head coach Per-Mathias Hogmo has called him up for the forthcoming international friendlies against the United Arab Emirates and England indicates how special a talent Stromsgodset have on their hands.
In fact, some believe Odegaard has the potential to develop into a player of similar ability as Barcelona and Argentina superstar Messi, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner regarded by some as the greatest footballer of all time.
Of course, it’s far too early to make such comparisons and Hogmo will be keen to ease the pressure on the youngster once he arrives in Norway’s training camp ahead of the UAE clash.
Watch: Martin Odegaard in action
Odegaard expected to leave Stromsgodset
One thing is clear: Odegaard’s time as a Stromsgodset player is coming to an end, and he will soon find himself contracted to one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
But the youngster, judging by his latest comments, will relish the challenges that come with the next chapter of his exceptionally promising career.
"This is what I've dreamed about since I was tiny. I have looked up to these players and put the TV on and it is really great to be able to team up with them,” he was quoted saying to Football.no following news of his international call-up.
"I am incredibly proud to be able to play with the flag on the chest and represent my country.
“This is huge and incredibly fun and a dream come true. I was shocked, and the message came as a surprise. But I was of course very happy!"