Arsene Wenger: Arsenal wanted Martin Odegaard before Real Madrid move in 2015

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted he wanted to sign Martin Odegaard before he joined Real Madrid in 2014.

Los Blancos agreed an incredible deal to bring Odegaard to Madrid in January 2015, just over a month after his 16th birthday, after agreeing a €3m deal with his boyhood club Strømsgodset.

Odegaard was earmarked as a potential world class talent by Real Madrid scouts, but he went on to make just eight La Liga appearances, from 2014 to 2022.

After failing to force his way into the Real Madrid first team, Odegaard spent time on loan at SC Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad, before joining Arsenal in 2021.

A six month loan spell convinced Mikel Arteta, and Arsenal signed him permanently ahead of the 2021/22 season, with the Norwegian later named as club captain.

The 24-year-old has played a vital role in Arsenal’s march to the top of the Premier League table at the start of 2023 but Wenger was frustrated to miss out on him as a teenager.

“When he was 15, I talked to him about joining Arsenal. I spoke to him again about it after the game on Boxing Day,” Wenger told an interview with Norwegian outlet TV2.

“I was desperate to sign him. Fortunately, he’s here now. He is like a young Cesc Fabregas. He’s developed into a complete player.

“He’s developed very well. It’s amazing. His decisions, he’s also a leader in the team.”

Tags Arsenal Arsene Wenger Martin Odegaard Mikel Arteta
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