Martin Ødegaard of Drammen has become Norway’s most expensive football player ever, after the Arsenal Football Club in London reportedly offered to pay as much as EUR 40 million (NOK 425 million) for his “permanent transfer” from Real Madrid. After days of speculation, Arsenal could finally present him as a team player heading into the weekend.
Ødegaard was only 16 and playing for the Strømsgodset club in Drammen when Real Madrid outbid many other clubs to secure what’s been called his “special talent.” Now 22, he’s advanced to also be the captain of Norway’s own national men’s football team.
He never actually played much for Real Madrid, though, which lent him out to other clubs “too many times,” according to Ødegaard himself. He ended up playing for Heerenveen and Vitesse in the Netherlands and for Real Sociedad in Spain.
Then he was put on loan to Arsenal for the 2020-2021 season. It proved a good fit, with the “attacking midfielder” playing in 20 matches for Arsenal and scoring two goals. Arsenal officials made it clear heading into the weekend that they were pleased to welcome Ødegaard back, where he’ll wear the Number 8 shirt. Arsenal Footall Club reported that the transfer was still “subject to the completion of regulatory processes and visa requirements.”
Norwegian commentators believe Ødegaard has now found a club where he’ll thrive. “Now a new adventure is starting,” wrote Aftenposten. “There was no direct way to success for the super-talent from Drammen, but now…”