Martin Odegaard has exploded into the footballing world these past few weeks, and it is not because he achieved high grades in his GCSEs.
The 16-year-old Norwegian sensation has completed a move to Real Madrid today, subject to a medical. Despite only making his senior debut for Tippeligaen outfit Stromsgodset in April, the 16-year-old has sent the into shockwaves with his undoubted potential. Yet it is the speed of his progress that has left some of football's biggest figures in doubt.
Odegaard has been shown around the biggest stadiums in Europe by club presidents, who were all desperate to get their hands on arguably Norway's biggest ever football talent.
Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United all tried to win the heart of Odegaard and his family, but ultimately it was the promises of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez that caught his eye most.
A juicy £80,000-a-week pay packet, a mansion ready for him and his family to move into, a superstar's welcome, a coaching role for his father and the chance to work under Zinedine Zidane in the 'B' team at the age of 16 was what was promised by the Los Blancos president.
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And it seemed to do the trick, with Odegaard opting for Castilla football.
But at this time in his, lets face it, non-existent career to delve into the prestigious and legendary Real Madrid first-team?
But star-power should have come second to a long-term development plan. Has Perez laid down any kind of structure to prove that he and his coaches are the people to develop Odegaard into the best player in the world?
One suspects he hasn't, and it has been bragging and name-dropping that has been used as the primary technique in the pursuit of the young star. Perhaps if they were looking at academy impact, they would have chosen a team like Ajax, who have a proven record of turning out superstars from an early age.
Former Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup, Celtic manager Ronny Deila and Bayern Munich youth co-ordinator Michael Tarnat have all questioned the gamble taken by Odegaard.
The transfer fee is rumoured to be around £3.5million, which for someone of his age is a gamble. What Odegaard must realise is that although Real have instilled their trust in him for now, this kind of money is peanuts for a club of their stature. Will Odegaard break into the first team this season, or next?
Probably not, so the argument stands. Did he need to join a club where he will almost definitely be playing in the reserve side?
Arguably it is not just any reserve side, but perhaps turning out in front of 40,000 noisy fans in England for a first-team would have been a better choice for development. Look at the likes of WIlfried Zaha, Bojan Krkic and Freddy Adu. All duped as potential Ballon d'Or winners as youngsters, yet now they are all absent from the elite level.
Odegaard will hope he has made the right decision, or I predict Madrid will forget quicker than they forgive. After all, there are many young stars out there, it's just a matter of finding them.
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