The jury remains out on Martin Odegaard.
It’s been three years since Real Madrid won the race to sign the highly-rated Norwegian, who was 16-years-old when he left Stromsgodset for Spain.
It quickly became apparent that, after spending the majority of his time playing for Real Madrid’s youth team, Odegaard needed first-team football to aid his development and so he was loaned out to Dutch club Heerenveen for 18 months in January 2017.
Real will have tracked Odegaard closely during his time in the Eredivisie and they must now decide what to do with the attacking midfielder, now 19.
He made 24 appearances in the league, scoring twice, but the reports coming out of Norway weren’t entirely positive.
Back in February, journalist Arilas Ould-Saada, who works for Norwegian outlet VG sporten, doubted Odegaard’s potential to become a first-team player at Real Madrid.
“While he has shown that he can be a game changer, it's also true to say that he lacks something - he's not the finished product which can deliver goals and assists,” Ould-Saada noted.
Fans vote on Odegaard
Spanish outlet Marca decided to put the decision that awaits Real Madrid chiefs into the hands of the club’s supporters by asking them what they would do with Odegaard.
Fans were given three options - bring him back, continue the loan or sell him - and more than half of the 6,205 voters said they would send him out on loan again.
Fifty-seven per cent said continue the loan, 31 per cent want Odegaard brought back and 11 per cent believe he should be sold.
So it’s clear that Real supporters believe Odegaard could have a future at the Santiago Bernabeu, but a large portion believe another temporary spell away from the club is the best option for him.
Indeed, it would make little sense to sell a player who remains incredibly young.
Odegaard admitted in March that he needs to play as much football as possible right now and it’s unlikely that will happen at Madrid, where Zinedine Zidane is equipped with a number of talented midfielders.
The teenager only needs to look at Dani Ceballos, who started just four La Liga matches this season, for an idea of the challenge facing young players at the club.
"I have always said that the important thing is to play and I want to find a club that allows me to play minutes at the highest level," Odegaard said.
Don’t be surprised to see the youngster sent packing once again in the summer.
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