Norway's football prodigy resists big-money deals

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Will Martin Ødegaard be lured away from Norway by one of Europe's top football clubs? Photo: Audun Braastad / NTB scanpix
01:13 CEST+02:00
Martin Ødegaard, the Norwegian 15-year-old attracting the attention of top football clubs and media around the world, is staying in Norway for the near-future, said his club.

Speculation has been rife Ødegaard is set to sign for one of Europe's top clubs. Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona and Liverpool, among others, have all been rumoured to be vying for his signature and happy to pay over 100 million kroner ($16 milllion) for the young talent.

However the midfielder's current club, Strømsgodset, has stated the player is not for sale. Director of football for the Norwegian side, Jostein Flo, said on Sunday to Dagbladet: "We are focusing on how he [Martin Ødegaard]  plays matches, so it is only the media speculating. He is focusing on training and matches. Nothing more."

When asked what clubs have approached the young talent, Flo said: "We haven't had contact with anyone. Martin will stay here [at Strømsgodset] and he will develop further. This is important for his schooling."

Martin Ødegaard’s father, Hans Erik Ødegaard, confirmed to VG earlier last week that talent scouts from several of the big clubs were watching his son play and that Martin had received over 30 requests for meetings from top clubs.
On Saturday's 1-1 draw against Sogndal in Drammen, Ødegaard was replaced after 64 minutes.
After the match Strømsgodset coach David Nielsen said: “Sogndal did a good job taming him [Martin Ødegaard].”
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Ødegaard denied his disappointment was even greater because of the presence of Barcelona talent scouts. He said: “I know I can do so much better, so I'm disappointed by this match.”

But the wonder-boy's performance does not seem to have affected interest in him. And with every player having his price in the multi-million kroner football transfer world, it seems only a matter of time before Ødegaard plays for one of the world's top sides.

Martin Ødegaard (centre) in action against Sogndal. Photo: Audun Braastad / NTB scanpix

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