Martin Odegaard has been sensational for Arsenal this season.
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard believes he has finally found his home at the Emirates – but admitted he could have arrived much earlier in his career.
The Norwegian signed for the Gunners on loan in January 2021 and he went on to make the move permanent in the following summer window. Odegaard, 24, quickly established himself as an integral part of the squad under Mikel Arteta and, 12 months later, was made the club’s skipper.
He is now at the heart of an Arsenal side that have their eyes on a first Premier League title in almost 20 years. On an individual basis, he has also emerged as one of the best midfield players not only in England, but in Europe, finally delivering on the hype which surrounded him as a teenager.
Odegaard was a household name before his 16th birthday, when he made his debut for the senior Norway side. He was quickly tagged as a generational star and was targeted by a host of elite teams across the world.
Aged 16, he eventually signed for Real Madrid, where he would remain until he made the move to north London two years ago. But in an interview with the Players’ Tribune, the Arsenal talisman has revealed he held face-to-face meetings with then-boss Arsene Wenger over a potential move in 2015.
“My dad handled everything with the clubs, and there were a lot. We went to Bayern [Munich], [Borussia] Dortmund, Man Utd, Liverpool, [Real] Madrid, Arsenal too. We got flown around in private planes and made to feel special,” he explained.
“I’m not just saying this… I was actually close to choosing Arsenal. When we went there, I got to train at London Colney. I met Arsene Wenger. He took me and Dad out for dinner.”
Despite confirming he always had a special relationship with the Gunners – having played with the team on FIFA video games – he snubbed Wenger for the bright lights of the Santiago Bernabeu.
Odegaard added: “So, why Real Madrid then? I talked about it a lot with my dad and the rest of my family. In the end, Madrid is Madrid. They were the Champions League holders with the best players in the world.