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Martin Odegaard: What does next season hold for the Real Madrid starlet?

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If reports are to be believed then Martin Odegaard's first few months at Real Madrid have been slightly uncomfortable after the Norwegian made the much-anticipated switch from Stromsgodset in January.

The 16-year-old's decision to train with the senior squad while playing for Zinedine Zidane's Castilla side is said to be have caused friction between the group, slowing his integration into Spanish football.

However Carlo Ancelotti has named the Norwegian international in Los Blancos' squad to face Almeria earlier this week, giving the prodigious talent a chance to become the youngest Real Madrid player ever.

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Whether he can break his way into the squad on a permanent basis next season remains to be seen, given the wealth of midfield talent available at Ancelotti's disposal, so a loan move would be a wise move for the youngster.

The question is, where is the best place for Odegaard to play his football next season?

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Celtic 

Celtic would be a natural fit given Odegaard's affiliation with Ronny Deila, his former Strømsgodset boss, now in charge of the Bhoys, and the presence of fellow Norwegian international Stefan Johansen, who has blossomed under the tutelage of Deila, would also help.

Odegaard's high level of technique would compliment the Scottish League Cup winners' squad, especially with the progressive football Deila has got his side playing in recent months. Celtic have made good use of the loan window this season, with Manchester City pair John Guidetti and Jason Denayer, Aston Villa winger Aleksandr Tonev and Rubin Kazan's Mubarak Wakaso all arriving on short-term deals. Odegaard would be another welcome addition. 

The last transfer between Madrid and Celtic saw Danish midfielder Thomas Gravesen leave the Santiago Bernabeu for Glasgow following a solitary season in Spain, so the clubs have previous in the transfer market.

The Scottish Premiership would be a definite step-up from the third tier of Spanish football in which Real Madrid's Castilla side currently play, but there could be worries that Celtic's domination of Scottish football wouldn't stretch Odegaard to his full potential.

Southampton     

Southampton have been linked with a temporary move for the 16-year-old this summer, having missed out on signing him on a permanent basis in January, with Ronald Koeman going as far as sending scouts to watch the Castilla side play. 

Odegaard's ability to play on either wing and in a more conventional playmaker role would fit in with Koeman's favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, while the promise of challenging himself in the Premier League would be a selling point for the Norwegian. 

However competition for places at St Mary's is high, with Sadio Mane, Dusan Tadic, Steven Davis, Jay Rodriguez as well as loanees Filip Duricic and Eljero Elia all fighting for first-team spots. Real Madrid will be keen to ensure that if Odegaard does leave the Bernabeu on loan then he guaranteed plenty of first-team football and that is far from certain at Southampton.

Villarreal  

Villarreal have already benefited from loaning Russian winger Denis Cheryshev and El Madrigal is currently a great environment for young footballers to ply their trade. Cheryshev, Luciano Vietto, Moi Gomez, Joel Campbell and Eric Bailly form a core of players aged 24 or younger so Ødegaard would add further youthful exuberance.

The chance to get used to the rigours of La Liga and further his integration into Spanish football would be a massive benefit for both Madrid and Odegaard himself. As with Southampton the big issue surrounding a loan move to El Submarino Amarillo would be whether Odegaard would play enough first-team football.

Much would depend on whether the club made Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell and Cheryshev's loan moves permanent. Odegaard is a highly ambitious personality and it wouldn't be out of the question for the 16-year-old to stay at Madrid and attempt to force his way into the first-team. 

So where do you think the best place for Ødegaard to play his football next year is? Let us know in the comments box below.

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Topics:
Football
Real Madrid
Spain Football
Transfer News
Southampton
England Football
Carlo Ancelotti

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