Former Vitesse Arnhem boss Leonid Slutsky has revealed that Liverpool failed in a bid to sign Martin Odegaard last summer.
A product of the Stromsgodset youth academy, the road has been long and difficult for Odegaard since his well-documented move to Santiago Bernabeu in 2015. After being subjected to numerous criticism due to his failures in making the desired impact, the playmaker is now being touted as one of the rising stars in Europe.
Slutsky, in that respect, played a major role in resurrecting Odegaard’s career while he was at Vitesse Arnhem. The Norwegian flourished under the former Hull City boss, scoring eight goals and providing 11 assists in 31 league matches, helping Vitesse finish fifth in the Eredivisie last season.
His remarkable performances in the Dutch top flight, as revealed by Slutsky, had caught the attention of Liverpool last summer.
“He became one of the best players in the Eredivisie and had many offers in his pocket. Not only from Real Sociedad, but also from Liverpool and Ajax,” Slutsky said, as quoted by the Mirror.
But, the Reds failed with a bid to sign the Real Madrid star, who eventually joined Real Sociedad on a season-long loan deal.
Odegaard’s performances this season with La Real have further boosted his profile. The 21-year-old has been involved in nine goals in La Liga so far, playing a key role as Real Sociedad compete with the likes of Sevilla, Getafe and Atletico Madrid for the UEFA Champions League spots.
It is quite an incredible achievement for a club that finished in mid-table last season. And it is fair to say that Odegaard deserves a lot of credit for that.
While former Barcelona target Willian Jose has done well to find the back of the net, the young Norwegian has emerged as the creator-in-chief for Imanol Alguacil’s men, delivering the third-highest number of key passes in the league. His tally of 54 key passes is only bettered by Jose Campana and Barcelona icon Lionel Messi.
For Liverpool, Odegaard could have been an outstanding signing. His ability to create chances and to link up play in the final third would have made him an ideal alternative to Naby Keita, who has failed to make the desired impact after his big-money move from RB Leipzig.
The Norwegian international could have also been considered as a like for like replacement for Philippe Coutinho. His presence in the side thus could have lifted the pressure on the duo of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in terms of chance creation.
The Reds are unlikely to get another bite at the cherry, with Odegaard tipped to become a key part of the Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side next season. He might well become the desired replacement for the ageing Luka Modric, with Slutsky also convinced that the playmaker is ready to rock the Bernabeu.