The new era at Real Madrid is starting early, as Martin Ødegaard will return from his two-year loan deal at Real Sociedad after just one year.
The Norwegian wonderkid is making his return to the Bernabeu at the request of manager Zinedine Zidane as he looks to refresh his La Liga winning squad despite having minimal cash available for signings.
At just 21 years old, Ødegaard has already been at the club for five years after signing for Los Blancos as the most coveted young player in recent memory. He rejected all the top clubs in Europe to join the club of his dreams and after spells in the Castilla side, Heerenveen in Holland and now a year at Sociedad, Zizou has made the decision to bring him into the first-team fold.
James Rodriguez, Isco and Gareth Bale could all leave this summer and are all out of favour with Zidane, while Luka Modric is 35 years old next month and still a regular starter in midfield. With the introduction of Fede Valverde into the side last season proving to be an important factor in their good form, while the form of young wingers Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and post-lockdown Marco Asensio made up for the lack of Bale and Hazard for much of the campaign, fresh blood seems to be the way forward for this side.
The club have been linked with young players mainly, with Eduardo Camavinga and Kylian Mbappe the prime targets according to the media. But with COVID-19 strongly affecting what Madrid can do in the transfer market, Zidane has been clever to use what already belongs to the club.
Ødegaard occupies best as a 10, but at Sociedad he was often positioned as an advanced 8 allowed to drift forward and create at will. His dribbling ability, weight of pass and final ball will add an extra dimension to a side that severely relied on the goals of Karim Benzema last year. Between the four most used midfielders last season, Madrid’s Kroos, Modric, Casemiro and Valverde scored 13 goals in all competitions, while Ødegaard alone got 9 goals. He will add a touch of flair to midfield too and will be a near perfect replacement for Modric who will surely begin to get fazed out of the starting line-up.
The decision to bring him back will give Ødegaard the chance to live up to all his hype, something he’s done so far during his loan spells away from the Bernabeu, but also allows Real Madrid to strengthen their team without spending a penny.
Another genius move, from the genius in charge?