We thought Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard is the only highly-flying Norwegian youngster in football, but a rival has emerged for the Los Blancos starlet in Odd Grenland’s talented tyro Rafik Zekhnini, according to the player’s manager, Dag-Eilev Fagermo.
Zekhnini was part of the Odd team that went 3-0 up against Borussia Dortmund, but later lost 3-4 to the Bundesliga club in Norway. That match helped the youngster burst onto the European scene and as per Sport Witness, Dortmund defender Mats Hummels was awestruck by Zekhnini’s performance last Thursday, uttering “what the f***?” in response to the player’s displays.
“I think Rafik has greater potential than Martin Odegaard,” Fagermo was quoted by VG as saying.
“Odegaard has of course amazing skills and a better passing game, but the pressure and of Rafik Zekhnini is extreme.”
The Odd boss says Zekhnini has what one can not teach and, while Odegaard has more experience of first team football, Fagermo believes his young superstar-in-the-making is right on his tail. The manager understands interests to sign Zekhnini will have increased with that performance and and bids are now expected in the new few weeks.
“Yes I think bids are getting ready now.. The interest rises even more after yesterday’s (Thursday) game.”
SW cites VG who names Manchester United and Dortmund are the two most prominent interested teams and Zekhnini himself said to Nettavisen (via Sport Witness): “I cannot say where I will be in five years. I’m going to give everything, every day, so we’ll see where I end up. In my dreams, Manchester United top the wish list.”
The Red Devils are also famed for catching players young and turning them into super stars. Such is the snapping up of Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon for a reported £12.7m under Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.
Ronaldo took the Premier League by storm and when Real Madrid came calling, United could not say no to the sale of their player – who is presently the World Best Footballer. In footballing aspects as well as the financial considerations, signing Zekhnini will make sense for United. And it would be easier for the Premier League club, as the 17-year old already has Manchester United top of his desired clubs in his “dreams”.