Football News

Why Ajax are unlikely to sign Real Madrid’s forgotten one-time wonderkid

By Chris Smith

Published: 18:38, 20 March 2019

Vitesse Arnhem coach Leonid Slutsky believes it will be impossible for Ajax to sign Norwegian starlet Martin Odegaard after their own efforts to make his loan permanent were rebuffed.

The 20-year-old has been loan at Vitesse since the start of this season, scoring seven goals in 27 appearances so far.

Does Odegaard have a Real Madrid future? Five key things to know…

  1. Odegaard joined Real Madrid in 2015 and became the club’s youngest-ever player aged just 16.
  2. He has, however, made just two senior appearances for Los Blancos.
  3. Odegaard is at Vitesse for his second loan spell since arriving at Real, scoring seven goals in 27 games so far.
  4. Vitesse coach Leonid Slutsky has admitted the club failed in an attempt to sign Odegaard permanently.
  5. Slutsky believes the Norwegian is ready to step up to a bigger club and Real will either keep him or send him out on loan again rather than sell him.

And Slutsky believes Odegaard is now ready to step up to a ‘bigger’ club, although it appears unlikely that he’ll remain in Holland.

“We tried to negotiate an option to buy for Ødegaard, but that was absolutely out of the question,” he said.

“That’s why I believe Ajax won’t be able to buy him either. He’ll likely be loaned out again or stay at Real Madrid. He’s definitely ready for a bigger club.”

After joining Real Madrid in 2015 and coming on from the bench to replace Cristiano Ronaldo,  becoming the club’s youngest-ever player in the process, huge expectations were placed upon Odegaard’s young shoulders – expectations he is yet to fulfil.

And Slutsky believes this may be, in part, down to the immense pressure Odegaard puts upon himself as a player.

“I noticed that he had put a lot of pressure on himself in the last two years,” he added. “Everyone had enormous expectations of him.

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“They expected him to get the ball, pass ten men, and then score. If he didn’t do that right away, it was said he wasn’t a great talent.

“That is why I immediately told him that I would treat him as a normal boy and did not expect more from him than from other players. Now you see that he experiences less pressure and starts to feel like a normal boy.”

Zidane’s return is perfect, says Odegaard

Zinedine Zidane’s return as Real Madrid manager may give Odegaard hope that he does have a future at the Bernabeu, with the Norway international telling of how the two had a ‘good relationship’ when working together at the club’s Castilla youth team.

“I think his return is very positive,” said Odegaard.

“He enjoyed success at the club in the past and he knows the players very well.

“We enjoyed a good relationship when he was Castilla manager and his return to the club is ideal.”