Barcelona have personally invited Norwegian wonderkid Martin Odegaard to the Camp Nou, in what appears to be an attempt to sweeten up the highly-rated Manchester United target - dubbed the ‘new Messi’ - ahead of a potential future transfer.
This is according to Norwegian newspaper VG - and brought to our attention by Catalan publication Mundo Deportivo - who claim that Barcelona are yet to receive a response from the player’s father, Hans Erik.
Barcelona banned from signing new players until 2016
Barcelona are forbidden from buying any new players until January 2016 after FIFA upheld the Catalan giants’ transfer ban, meaning Manchester United and their local rivals Manchester City and Liverpool all have an advantage in the race for the Stromsgodset attacking midfielder.
Odegaard rose to prominence earlier this season after being called up to Norway’s international squad, even though he doesn’t turn 16 until December.
Despite his tender age, the gifted left-footed playmaker - whose playing style certainly bares similarities to that of four-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi - made his senior debut for the Norwegian national team against the United Arab Emirates in August.
He has also been called up for Norway’s forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Malta and Bulgaria.
Barcelona want to lure Odegaard to Camp Nou
Barcelona want the teenager to come to the Camp Nou to take a trip around the iconic stadium, its facilities and the club’s famed La Masia academy.
Such an invitation could lead a lasting impression on the youngster and convince him to stay put with Stromsgodset for another year, rather than accepting an offer from another top European club.
Manchester United and others have advantage
However, it’s understood that Odegaard has already trained with both Manchester United and Bayern Munich, and impressed coaches at both clubs thanks to his skill, technique and maturity.
Odegaard was linked with a late deadline-day switch to Old Trafford but the move, for reasons currently unclear, failed to materialise.
The Norway international is still at a very premature stage in his career and may feel that his development, for the time being, is best served with his current employers, where he is playing regular first-team football on a weekly basis.
He would have no guarantees of regular first-team action if he opts to join any of the interested clubs in the near future, despite his immense potential.
Comparisons with Messi
Odegaard has drawn comparisons with Messi thanks to his low centre of gravity, wonderful close control and his end product.
He also bares similarities to another talented player who joined Barcelona earlier this year, Croatia international Alen Halilovic, as well as Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj.
Stromsgodset will lose him to a big club in the near future, but will he hold out for a dream move to Barcelona in 2016?