Real Madrid could reverse their decision to send Martin Odegaard out on loan for the 2015-16 campaign if the Norway international impresses on the club’s pre-season tour of Australia and China.
This is according to Spanish newspaper Marca, who understand Odegaard will have the chance to impress newly-appointed manager Rafael Benitez this summer.
The 16-year-old, who made his La Liga debut at the end of last season, is guaranteed to be part of Real Madrid’s pre-season tour squad and will have the opportunity to force his way into the first team on a permanent basis if he can prove he is ready.
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It was reported earlier this month that Real Madrid had decided to send Odegaard out on loan, with various clubs in Spain and other top European leagues keen to secure the left-footed playmaker’s services on a temporary basis.
Villarreal, Malaga and Real Betis are all interested, as are Scottish Premier League champions Celtic, who are managed by Ronny Deila, Odegaard’s former manager at Stromsgodset.
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Real Madrid's testing pre-season tour
However, Real Madrid are not against the idea of keeping the youngster for the upcoming season; they simply want him to prove that he’s ready for a shot at playing week-in, week-out for arguably the world’s biggest football club.
The teenager impressed for Norway in their two most-recent fixtures - particularly in the 0-0 draw against Sweden in Oslo - and will now be eager to produce eye-catching performances against top-quality opponents next month.
Real Madrid kick off their pre-season tour in Australia with a match against AS Roma on July 18, before taking on Manchester City six days later.
Three days after that they take on Inter Milan in China, before ending their stay in the Far East with a match against Inter’s rivals, AC Milan.
Four great clubs and, for Odegaard, four opportunities to show Benitez why sending him out on loan next season would be a missed opportunity.
Loan would be best for Odegaard
While Odegaard is clearly a hugely-promising talent, it’s probably in the best interests of both the club and, more importantly, the player to spend next season out on loan.
The Norwegian is not yet the finished article - while his decision-making is very impressive for his age, his lack of strength is a problem - and could do with spending time at a club where he will be exposed to first-team football on a regular basis.
Real Madrid simply have too many world-class options in midfield and attack - all of whom possess more experience than Odegaard - and there’s a real risk the youngster would find himself stuck on the bench, or demoted back to the Castilla, if he stays at the Bernabeu next season.
Should Real Madrid keep Martin Odegaard next season - or send him out on loan? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!