Former Arsenal youth scout reveals Martin Odegaard met with Arsene Wenger but rejected move

Former Arsenal scout reveals Martin Odegaard snubbed Arsene Wenger
It was between the Gunners and Real Madrid to sign the young Norwegian (Pictures: Getty)

Arsenal’s former head of youth scouting Steve Morrow has revealed that the club very nearly signed Martin Odegaard when he was a teenager but he opted to join Real Madrid at the last minute.

The Norwegian – who moved to the Emirates on loan in January – became one of the most in-demand youngsters in Europe when he made his debut for Stromsgodset at the age of just 15 and attracted a host of high-profile suitors.

Now Morrow has revealed that Arsenal made their own push to sign Odegaard six years ago and the young playmaker even met with Arsene Wenger, though he ultimately picked Real Madrid.

Martin Odegaard Real Madrid - La Liga Santander
Odegaard joined Real Madrid in 2015 but has found opportunities limited (Picture: Getty)

‘I first scouted him when he was 14 and was just amazed by his talent, his technical level and his intelligence for such a young player,’ Morrow told The Times.

‘I put a lot of work in, scouted Martin for 18 months and got very close to him and his family.

‘We had permission from Stromsgodset to invite the player over and it was down to us and Real Madrid. We rolled out the red carpet.

‘He met with Arsene, we took him out for dinner and really showcased the club.

‘We had a holistic approach, not only developing the player as a footballer but as a human being and teaching him good values, you’re going to learn how to cook, going to visit hospitals, do stuff in the community.

‘Martin massively impressed everyone, including Arsene. We were very, very close to signing him before he made a late decision to go to Real Madrid.

‘He did ring up [to explain]. That was a huge disappointment for me because I thought he was the right fit for us and, more importantly, the right fit for Martin.

Arsenal's Martin Odegaard and Mikel Arteta
Odegaard ended up at Arsenal eventually, joining on loan until the end of the season (Getty)

‘I was quite surprised at the decision he made because historically there’s not many young players at 16, 17 who progress into the first team at Real Madrid.

‘Arsene wasn’t afraid to play those young players and we felt that Martin could do that with us. But we’ve gone full circle so it’s worked out well. He ended up back at Arsenal but that was a tough one.’

MORE : Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane reveals conversation with Martin Odegaard before Arsenal loan switch

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