Liverpool's multi-season rebuilding process has largely revolved around the acquisition of youth. Players in their early twenties are plentiful in Brendan Rodgers' current squad, and he has a small army of promising Academy graduates and youth reserves at his disposal to round out his roster. But as those players mature, new youth recruits will be brought in, and those with their ears to the grounds are getting super excited about Norwegian wunderkind Martin Ødegaard.
Ødegaard is a mere fifteen years-old but became the youngest player ever in the Norwegian Tippeligaen on his debut this past April, making twenty-three appearances for his club Strømsgodset. He has already earned three caps for the senior Norwegian national side, but with his contract ending at the end of 2015, the youngster is starting to cast his eye in the direction of bigger clubs in Europe.
"Liverpool have always been my dream club," Ødegaard said in a lengthy interview with Sport Bild. "But I will not let this affect my decision when I choose a new club. It's all about finding the team that is best for me and for my development. That is not necessarily Liverpool.
"I haven't really thought about my future yet. I will end the season here and then visit a number of clubs. I have not made a final decision yet, though. Of course, it's flattering when you hear that big clubs are after you, but I don't think about it too often."
Ødegaard was in Germany meeting with various clubs, including a meeting with Jürgen Klopp and training with Bayern Munich's and Stuttgart's youth sides. Coming away impressed with the level of development in German academies, Ødegaard would no doubt fare well with any number of German clubs during the next stage of his career.
But England is always a huge draw for any player regardless of age, and unlike many other youth set-ups across the country, Liverpool's academy has a fairly good reputation. Add to this the overall popularity of Liverpool in Norway and you've got a match made in heaven for a young kid with a bright future. It's a future so bright that managers at top clubs around the continent are already being asked about the player.
"I know he's a big talent, at that age to be playing senior football at 15 and in a competitive league," said Brendan Rodgers a few weeks ago. "He's got wonderful ability and wonderful talent, but there's nothing much more to say on him."
In other words, let's not build Liverpool's back-to-back Champions League titles in 2024 and 2025 on the back of the poor kid just yet. For now, though, you can now add him on Football Manager 2015 and run your own simulations of those back-to-back titles.