Liverpool made a bid to bring Martin Odegaard to Anfield from Real Madrid last year before he opted to join Real Sociedad on loan, claims the No. 10’s former manager.
Odegaard was on the Reds’ radar prior to his switch from Stromsgodset to Madrid in 2015, and as a 15-year-old trained with Brendan Rodgers’ squad at Melwood.
Despite describing Liverpool as his “dream club” back then, he opted for Real and a high-profile move to the Bernabeu, with the Norwegian considered one of the most exciting young talents in world football.
It has been a difficult spell for Odegaard since then, having played just twice for Real so far and spending the last three seasons out on loan.
So far this season he has scored seven and assisted eight in 28 games for Sociedad, with Imanol Alguacil’s side sitting fourth in LaLiga with the campaign currently suspended.
But Odegaard could have been part of Liverpool’s title challenge instead, if Leonid Slutsky—his manager at Vitesse last season—is to be believed.
“His time at Vitesse has been very important,” Slutsky told Spanish outlet EFE.
“He became one of the best players in the Eredivisie and had many offers in his pocket. Not only from Real Sociedad, but also from Liverpool and Ajax.”
Slutsky added that Odegaard is “ready for Real,” with the Madrid club expected to cut short his two-season spell with Sociedad ahead of next term, and praised him as “one of the best professionals I’ve seen in my entire life.”
“Martin is very confident and can play very consistently over a longer period of time,” he explained.
“I got to know him as a great professional, who worked every day in the gym and keeps a close eye on his nutrition. He is a hyperprof, almost like a robot.”
There is no doubt these qualities would endear Odegaard to Jurgen Klopp, and it would be interesting to see if Liverpool make another approach if his time at the Anoeta Stadium is cut short.
The understanding would be that the 21-year-old would return to join the Real first-team squad, but as ever there is no guarantee of a starting spot under Zinedine Zidane.
Odegaard most regularly operates as a No. 10 in Alguacil’s 4-2-3-1 system, but he could feasibly be shifted into a more regular role as a midfielder in Klopp’s 4-3-3.
He already has experienced of this at Sociedad, including in the 3-1 win over Osasuna in the Copa del Rey in January, in which he scored one goal from a direct free-kick and assisted the other two in a standout display.
The youngster is also able to play on either wing, and his delivery with his left foot in particular is outstanding, including from both free-kicks and corners—and if Liverpool do renew their interest he could be an excellent addition.