Home » Inside Manchester United’s failed attempt to sign Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard

Inside Manchester United’s failed attempt to sign Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard

by Derick Kinoti

Manchester United were in the running to sign Arsenal’s captain Martin Odegaard back when he was a teen sensation from Norway taking the football world by storm.

United, like a host of other top European clubs, missed out on Odegaard, a player now spearheading Arsenal’s title charge.

Ahead of Sunday’s game against Arsenal, the Gunners sit at the top of the table and enjoy a five-point gap between themselves and Manchester City.

Central to their success this season is Odegarrd, who as per The Athletic, Louis van Gaal was extremely keen on signing back in 2014.

The Athletic relays that Van Gaal took a jet to Norway in an attempt to convince the young star and his family to choose Old Trafford ahead of clubs like Manchester City, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Liverpool.

As a 14-year-old Odegaard had already spent time at United where he trained for three days in the academy.

“A year on, the scouting reports were so impressive United took a top-level decision that there was no need to offer him a trial.

“They just wanted to sign him.”

Odegaard eventually chose the Santiago Bernabeu and a moved to Real Madrid, which did not go according to plan.

Unlike many other teams that intensely courted the player but could not promise him an immediate pathway into the first team, Madrid assured him that he would train and be around the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

However, in a star-studded midfield, Odegaard failed to break into the team. He trained with Madrid’s galacticos during the week but played for the Spanish side’s B team on weekends.

He ended up making only 11 senior appearances for Los Blancos.

The Athletic details that Van Gaal repeatedly told the player and his representatives that moving to Madrid would be a big mistake and that he needed “proper education,” the likes of which Old Trafford could provide.

Van Gaal, in an email revelation to The Athletic, stated that after this interaction and telling Odegaard that he will not immediately train with the first team, he did not hear from the player and his people ever again.

United Matchday Magazine – be in the know about everything in red!
Still itching for more United content? Get everything you need right here. For just £1.25 per issue/£3.75 a month you’ll receive unique insights into United, straight to your inbox – before every match and throughout the month.

  • Get the exclusive build-up to each match, plus team news, tactics and history.
  • Not only that – United Matchday is jam-packed with articles, news, transfer news, puzzles, nostalgia and humour.
  • Impress your friends and be in the know about everything in red!

Latest Top Stories...