Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has admitted to being a big fan of Martin Odegaard and revealed he tried to sign the Arsenal midfielder while at Borussia Dortmund.
Odegaard has already had a storied career, despite being only 23 years old. He broke into the Stromsgodset side while still a teenager and his impressive performances for them prompted Real Madrid to make a move.
Odegaard joined the Spanish giants in January 2015 for £2.52million. He was just 16 at the time.
The playmaker had loan spells at Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad, while also making 11 appearances in the Real first team.
However, he struggled to live up to his early hype and this saw Real once again put him up for a loan in January last year.
Odegaard signed for Arsenal and did well during six months at the Emirates. As a result, the Gunners captured him on a permanent basis that summer for £30m.
Odegaard has had two successful campaigns with Arsenal since then and has become an integral part of Mikel Arteta’s side. He was named club captain in July, which shows how highly Arsenal coaches rate him.
The Norwegian has bagged three goals in eight matches so far this term. He will be looking to add to that tally when Arsenal play Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Jurgen Klopp heaps praise on Arsenal man
Things could have been far different for the star, though. Klopp has detailed his long-term admiration of Odegaard and spoken about trying to sign him for Dortmund during his time in Germany.
In an interview with Norwegian outlet TV2 (via Goal), the Reds manager said: “I really like him. It’s easy these days. It was a bit more difficult at the start of his career when he was at Real Madrid. Then it looked like it might not go his way.
“I was really disappointed by that, because we wanted him in Dortmund when he was very young. We had a long conversation when he was still a boy, together with his father. In the end he decided on Madrid, and that’s fine, but that’s why I’ve always followed him.”
Klopp continued: “You can only imagine how many talents, huge talents, crazy talents, I have seen over the course of quite a while in this industry.
“At the time, Martin was 15 years old and already playing in Norway. The whole world went berserk. Until he was 15, he probably experienced no hardship. After that, a lot of things went against him.
“It makes him the person he is now, the man he is now, and the player he is now. I’m really happy that he has now become the player we all expected him to become.
“In fact, even better than that, if you will. He plays a massive role in an incredibly strong Arsenal team.”
Klopp’s praise for Odegaard could see Liverpool go after his signature in the future, should Arsenal decide to let him go.
Liverpool need midfield reinforcements after several injuries in the area, plus Thiago and Jordan Henderson are both the wrong side of 30.
Odegaard would be a fantastic signing to solve Klopp’s midfield problems. However, Liverpool may have to wait a while to unite Klopp with Odegaard as Arsenal will not want to sell him any time soon.