A former head of youth scouting at Arsenal, Steve Morrow, has claimed Martin Odegaard snubbed a move to the club when Arsene Wenger was still manager.
Odegaard, who was a teenager at the time, chose to sign for Real Madrid instead.
The Norwegian was one of the most in-demand youngsters in Europe, when he made his debut for Stromsgodset at 15.
Now Morrow has claimed Arsenal made their move to sign Odegaard six years ago.
“I first scouted him when he was 14 and was just amazed by his talent, his technical level and his intelligence for such a young player,” Morrow told The Times.
“I put a lot of work in, scouted Martin for 18 months and got very close to him and his family.
“We had permission from Stromsgodset to invite the player over and it was down to us and Real Madrid. We rolled out the red carpet.
“He met with Arsene, we took him out for dinner and really showcased the club.
“We had a holistic approach, not only developing the player as a footballer but as a human being and teaching him good values, you’re going to learn how to cook, going to visit hospitals, do stuff in the community.
“Martin massively impressed everyone, including Arsene. We were very, very close to signing him before he made a late decision to go to Real Madrid.”
Odegaard ended up at Arsenal eventually, joining this January on loan until the end of the season.