DRAMMEN: Only details remain before Martin Ødegaard will complete a transfer to Real Madrid. Sources close to Drammens Tidende confirm that the Godset starlet has made his decision. He has accepted an offer from the world's richest and most successful club.
UPDATE TUESDAY: According to sources close to the situation, Ødegaard will travel to Spain on Thursday. All details in the starlet's contract, spanning 3,5 years, have now been worked out.
Strømsgodset will now commence talks with Real Madrid to discuss the transfer fee and other details surrounding the transfer, slated to start late Monday or early Tuesday morning.
Ødegaard will sign a lucrative long-term deal as soon as the two clubs have come an agreement. Barring any unexpected setbacks, the 16 year old midfielder will soon be presented as Los Galacticos' newest signing.
The final decision was a tough one to make for the youngster, who considered several other offers as late as this week. Even if Real Madrid always have seemed as the frontrunners, four clubs where in the hunt until the very end - including Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Ødegaard's favorite club Liverpool.
Headed for Spain immediately
The wonderkid will be a part of the first team squad from day one, as has been one of the demands of Hans Erik Ødegaard, Martin's father.
The two will move to Madrid immediately, a decision that has been made in the last couple of weeks. Long, there were discussions about waiting until summer before moving, but after a get-together the family decided that moving now would be the best option.
Martin Ødegaard has therefore played his last game for Strømsgodset, at least for now.
The plan is that he will be playing matches with the second team, The "Castilla", and train with Cristiano Ronaldo and the other stars in the first-team squad.
Hans Erik Ødegaard has been offered a job within the club, most likely as a coach or developmental coach for one of the youth teams. Therefore, learning Spanish will be one of the top priorities for the two as they move to Iberia. Martin's mother, Lene Cecilie Ødegaard, will remain in Norway along with the rest of the of the family.
Transfer talks beginning
The two clubs are now discussing the terms and conditions of Ødegaard's move. The midfielder's contract only runs through the upcoming season, which means that Strømsgodset sit at the the table in a weaker position than what they would have been in if a long-term deal was in place.
A transfer fee could be somewhere between 20 and 30 million Norwegian Kroner (NOK). Also, Strømsgodset will fight hard to get a percentage of future transfer fees for the wonderkid.
Regardless, talks will move swiftly as Real Madrid rarely spend more time on such deals than what they absolutely must.
Praise from Ronaldo
For Real Madrid, securing Ødegaard has become a prestige project. No less because Barcelona also were early contenders in the race for the 16 year old. But Barcelona's transfer embargo in 2015 rendered the Catalans out of the race to sign Ødegaard when it became clear that the youngster was to leave Norway as soon as in January.
The last Ødegaard visit to Madrid was so closely covered by international media outlets that a failure to come to terms with Strømsgodset would be seen as a huge embarassment for the Spanish giants.
Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti even had to answer questions regarding Martin Ødegaard at one of his press conferences after the visit. Last monday, after receiving FIFA's Ballon d'Or, Cristiano Ronaldo took his turn to praise the Drammen-born Ødegaard.
Bayern Munich led the pack
Ødegaard has attracted the interest of most big clubs in Europe. The interest has been so overwhelming that father and son decided to go a very unusual and closely covered tour, visiting several of the biggest clubs in the hunt. Among other clubs, the two visited Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Drammens Tidende also have reasons to believe that Bayern Munich were leading the race at one point. The German team's legendary coach Josep Guardiola made a solid impression on the duo.
The former midfielder, now a Champions League winning coach, had detailed plans for Martin. After seeing the Strømsgodset player training with the Bayern Munich stars, Guardiola was adamant that the 16 year old already was playing at a very high level.
Liverpool and Arsenal
Last week's visit with Real Madrid was what tipped the scale in Real Madrid's favor. At Valdebebas, Los Galacticos' training ground, Ødegaard among others met with club president Florentino Perez.
Offers from Liverpool and Arsenal were also considered until the decision was made. The two clubs would have offered an easier road for Ødegaard to become a permanent fixture in the first-team.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger indicated that Ødegaard could be playing with the first-team reasonably soon. The Frenchman has a previous history of showing that he's not afraid of putting teenagers out onto the pitch.
Finally, Real Madrid's offer was too good to turn down. Now, a new chapter in the adventure in the football life of Martin Ødegaard begins, with the glorious Santiago Bernabeu as the backdrop.
Translated by Jermund Berg.