Odegaard To Madrid: Why This Baby Galactico Has Everybody Excited


Teenage sensation Martin Odegaard is reportedly on the brink of joining Real Madrid, in a baby Galactico deal that would take the hype around the 16-year-old into the stratosphere. 

If Madrid push things through as expected, it would represent a coup for the club and the culmination of a ravenous hunt that has involved at least Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Arsenal, and almost certainly others.

Brendan Rodgers licked his lips and called Odegaard a "wonderful talent" with "wonderful ability". Arsene Wenger reportedly tried to make assurances to Odegaard's father that his son would be given playing time. Pep Guardiola put on a private coaching session for him.

The courting of Odegaard has been a footballing twist on The Bachelor (US version still going strong), with suitors lining up to flirt outrageously and a steady flow of training ground dates to inform Odegaard's decision. The poor boy will soon will be dealing with the same thing from actual women.

According to respected sources in Norway, Odegaard's club choice has been made and the reveal is due any day now. Madrid have got their man and they've offered his dad a nice little coaching job as a sweetener. The big question now is whether the boy prodigy will make good on the hype around him? Or will it be a case of too much pressure too young?

As we eagerly await the next chapter in Odegaard's rapid rise, here's your need-to-know scouting guide.

THE BASICS

If you're somehow oblivious to Odegaard's rise, he made his international debut for Norway at 15 and his most every mention comes with a Lionel Messi comparison. 

He's a little taller than Messi, but he's fast, left-footed and has the balance of a mountain goat in a Fred Astair movie. Five minutes on YouTube will fully validate the Messi comparisons.

 

OTHER COMPARISONS?

Odegaard has the Ronaldinho elastico down and a quite sublime first touch akin to the toothy Brazilian God, but he's more dynamic driving forward and should have a more solid frame by the time he's fully grown.

There's also a Zinedine Zidane-esque pirouette to admire. Early signs suggest Odegaard lacks Zizou's natural grace and only time will tell if he can develop the kind of majesty and passing range the great Frenchman controlled midfields with.

A more modern comparison can be found in Madrid's James Rodriguez. Like James, Odegaard has the cultured left foot, driving runs, a wonderful eye for a pass and a penchant for flair. 

READ: What Would Happen If Gareth Bale Joined Manchester United

 

TACTICAL OVERVIEW

The era of 4-2-3-1 (or close relatives thereof) rages on and the 16-year-old Odegaard looks most suited to a role in one of the three spots behind a main striker.

It's in that area of the pitch that Odegaard can break lines, beat players and influence things in the attacking third with his exuberance, imagination and speed. With pressing football everywhere the currency of counterattack has never been more valuable. 

We've seen lots of evidence Odegaard can cut in to great effect from the right, echoing the dynamic left-footed threat of players like Gareth Bale, Angel Di Maria, David Silva, Juan Mata and of course Messi. He's also comfortable taking things down his more natural left side.

For an in-depth scouting guide to Odegaard I would highly recommend a read of Ben Cullimore's piece for Outsideoftheboot here, where we learn Odegaard himself prefers a central role.

 

REAL MADRID PROSPECTS

We can forget about Odegaard playing a part for Real Madrid's first team this season. You may have noticed Carlo Ancellotti's team are stacked with at least two world-class options for every attack-minded role behind their focal point striker. This is not the Everton side Wayne Rooney made his debut in.

The youthful likes of Jese and Isco are already battling it out every week with James, Bale, Ronaldo, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, and with Madrid out of the Copa del Rey there's won't be the occasion for Ancelotti indulging his new plaything anytime soon.

Should the deal go through, the best Odegaard could hope for might be a late cameo from the bench this season. According to media in Norway he will be playing for Madrid's second team under the tutelage of Zidane.

There is the suggestion, however, that Odegaard will train with Madrid's first team and we should fully expect a Vine of Ronaldo nutmegging him during a game of Rondos within the first week or so. 

 

SHOULD WE BELIEVE THE HYPE?

In Wenger we trust. For all the criticism he gets we should remember the Arsenal manager knows a young player when he sees one. Ancelotti, Rodgers and a few others come with previous also.

Odegaard is just 16, but skill set appears ideally suited for the modern game and there's no better role model than Ronaldo when it comes to honing your physical performance and maximising on your talent. 

It might be the transfer window, but the hype around Odegaard looks fully justified.

Bet now on the January transfer window