Former Arsenal youth scout Steve Morrow has lifted the lid on the club's unsuccessful pursuit of Martin Odegaard when the attacking midfielder was a teenager.
Odegaard has joined the Gunners from Real Madrid on a season-long loan until the end of the season.
But back in 2014 while at Norwegian side Stromsgodset he was rated as one of the highest-rated young players in the world, with a number of elite clubs around Europe chasing him.
Odegaard travelled to London to meet the likes of Arsene Wenger but eventually opted for Madrid instead.
And in an interview with The Times Morrow looked back on their attempts to sign the player.
"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 said.
"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.
"He did ring up [to explain]. That was a huge disappointment for me because I thought he was the right fit for us and, more importantly, the right fit for Martin.
"I was quite surprised at the decision he made because historically there’s not many young players at 16, 17 who progress into the first team at Real Madrid.
"Arsene wasn’t afraid to play those young players and we felt that Martin could do that with us. But we’ve gone full circle so it’s worked out well. He ended up back at Arsenal but that was a tough one."
Odegaard is yet to start his first game for the Gunners, and was named as a substitute again for Saturday's clash with Aston Villa.
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