Manchester United and Arsenal target Martin Odegaard was photographed arriving at Barcelona’s El Prat airport on Friday, despite recent reports claiming that the talented teenager has already reached an agreement with Bayern Munich.
The in-demand Norway international, who turned 16 on Wednesday, was spotted at Barcelona’s main airport amid reports that he will visit La Masia and take a tour around the Camp Nou this weekend.
It seems Odegaard, who currently plies his trade for Stromsgodset, is currently keeping his options open - however Barcelona are unable to sign any new players until January 2016 because of a transfer ban.
Bayern Munich 'agreement'
German publication SPORT1 revealed earlier this week that Odegaard, who made his international debut aged 15 in August, had decided on a move to Bayern Munich after spending several days with the Bundesliga champions.
In what has been a hectic couple of months for the youngster, Odegaard has also spent time with the likes of United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Ajax. Other clubs, including Chelsea, have also been strongly linked with the player this year.
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Not wanting to miss out on the chance to sign a player many believe possesses world-class potential, Barcelona hope to deter Odegaard from committing his future to Bayern Munich - or any other interested club - by showing him around the club’s famed La Masia academy, where the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta all learned the skills which eventually made them global superstars and winners of multiple major honours.
Lionel Messi comparisons
Odegaard - thanks to his remarkable close control, low centre of gravity and magnificent left foot - has been compared to four-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi. For Stromsgodset this season he scored five goals in 24 appearances and looked assured for both club and country despite his tender age and diminutive stature.
Barcelona successfully lured a similarly talented starlet - also compared to Messi - to the Camp Nou earlier this season: Alen Halilovic, the 18-year-old who has already made seven appearances for the Croatia national team.
Halilovic is currently playing for Barcelona B after leaving Dinamo Zagreb, but Odegaard may feel that he’s already capable of playing for a top club’s first team.
If this is the case - and unless their transfer ban is overturned by FIFA - then Barcelona are unlikely to sign this hugely-gifted Norwegian attacking midfielder.