There are many in Liverpool country who like to dwell on transfer targets who never ended up on Merseyside for one reason or another. At the time, one such player was then fifteen year-old Norwegian phenom Martin Ødegaard, who took in a training session at Melwood and was taken out for dinner by Philippe Coutinho in late 2014 as part of Brendan Rodgers' hopes of signing the player.
Ødegaard claimed at the time that Liverpool would be a dream move for him, but that he wouldn't let that affect decisions about his future. In the end, the teenager ended up at Real Madrid but the club's ex-manager Carlo Ancelotti said the transfer was not one that he was remotely interested in.
"When Florentino [Perez] buys a Norwegian footballer, you simply have to accept it," Ancelotti wrote in his new and impeccably titled book, Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches. "Furthermore, the president decided that he would play three games with the first team as a public relations exercise. He could be the best player in the world, but I don't care because he was not a player who I asked for. That signing was to do with PR."
Though it's odd that a club as well known and well covered in the media might require a PR stunt involving a Norwegian teenager, it's also quite well within the boundaries of expected behaviour by Perez. Ødegaard, like most fifteen year-olds, didn't immediately break into Real Madrid's first team and set the world on fire, and though he's still just seventeen, he now has to contend with the practical fallout of Perez's bizarre PR strategy.
Whether Ødegaard continues to chip away at the edges of Real Madrid's first team, gets sent out on loan, or leaves Madrid entirely remains to be seen, but Liverpool fans can breathe a sigh of relief that sometimes transfers don't pan out for reasons that couldn't possibly have been predicted at the time.