Jurgen Klopp Reveals The Arsenal Player He Has ‘always followed.’ Jurgen Klopp has always had a keen interest in Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard.
The Liverpool manager attempted to sign Odegaard for Borussia Dortmund several times before and after he joined Real Madrid at the age of 16 in 2015, but he was unable to complete a deal.
Odegaard signed a permanent deal with Arsenal in 2021 after a successful loan spell. The 23-year-old is now captain of Mikel Arteta’s team as well as the Norwegian national team.
“It was a bit more difficult at the start of his career at Madrid. It didn’t look like it would work out. I was really disappointed about that because we wanted him at Dortmund, we wanted him as well when he was very young, we had a long talk when he was a kid still, with his dad, in the end he decided for Madrid, that’s fine.
“That’s why I’ve followed him always. I’m really happy he’s become the player we all expected him to be, and even better if you want, he has a massive role in an unbelievably strong Arsenal team.
“He’s still young, [has a] clear mind, very influential, cannot say anything negative about him, to be honest. A top player.”
Odegaard has turned his career around after failing to make the grade at Real Madrid, becoming a star performer for Premier League leaders Arsenal. “Very impressive,” Klopp said of Odegaard’s turnaround.
“I’ve seen a lot of talent, massive talents, crazy talents. For Martin, at the time I think he was 15, I think he was playing in the first league in Norway. The whole world went mad.
“Maybe I’m not sure, you’ll have to ask him, but maybe I was too honest that time because I told him he’s still a kid, school, all these kinds of things, fine, but we want to be the environment where he can grow.
“If you compare Dortmund to the city of Madrid, as nice as it is, Madrid… maybe I would’ve made the same decision, but I would’ve loved that time if he joined us.
“But it’s all fine. That’s not important. Until he was 15 probably nothing went against him in his way, from that moment on a lot of things went [against] in his way, it makes you the player you are now, the human being you are now, the man you are now, and I think they are pretty happy with how it went.”