Roma: We nearly signed Odegaard

The Serie A club were made aware of the teenager several years ago and tried to sign the player, but a deal never materialised and he ultimately joined Real Madrid last month

Roma have revealed they came close to signing Norwegian wonderkid Martin Odegaard several years before his move to Real Madrid in January.

The 16-year-old is one of the most highly-rated prospects in world football and the Serie A club were alerted to his quality when he was just 12-years-old.

Odegaard was one of Roma sporting director Walter Sabbatini’s first targets upon his appointment at the Stadio Olimpico in 2011 and the Italian said he did his best to lure him to Rome.

“During my first year in Rome we became aware of Odegaard,” he said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I made a big mistake. It was partly my fault, but also that of the environment and the coach, both of which played a part. We were very close to Odegaard, long before he went to Real Madrid, but ultimately it did not happen.”

As recently as last autumn Roma again attempted to persuade Odegaard to move to Roma, with former Norway star John Arne Riise revealing he had advised the club to make a bid.

“I have recommended Roma try to sign Odegaard,” the APOEL defender told TV2.

Madrid paid a reported €3 million to sign him from Stromsgodset, the eighth highest fee ever paid for a 16-year-old.

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