He had Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool all battling for his signature and teen sensation Martin Odegaard could yet end up in the Premier League – at Southampton.
The highly-rated 16-year-old also caught the eye of Bayern Munich, Ajax and Barcelona but eventually opted for Real Madrid, with Los Blancos offering the kind of wages that could literally make a teenager’s head spin.
Already being hailed as the second coming of Lionel Messi, Odegaard has actually struggled to assert himself at Real Madrid Castilla, the club’s Segunda Liga-playing B team, scoring once in six appearances and playing a full 90-minutes just once.
However, Koeman is a huge admirer of his talents and is set on convincing Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti that a spell in the Premier League under the watchful eye of the Dutchman would be a better place for the Norwegian to develop.
Although Koeman was not at the helm, Southampton have set a number of young stars on the road to success in recent years, with Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw all coming through the ranks at St Mary’s.
Odegaard may feel his future lies at the Bernabeu, but that future could be brighter if he learns his trade under a manager like Koeman and at a club like Southampton which can also count the likes of Nathaniel Clyne among its success stories.
The Saints were many peoples’ tip for relegation this season after letting a host of first-team stars leave in the summer but Koeman’s management has not only allayed those fears but has the St Mary’s crowd dreaming of Champions League qualification.
Koeman’s side could move a step closer to achieving that dream with a win over Burnley this weekend and at odds of 4/9 to beat the Clarets it seems they’ll do exactly that.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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