The Spanish club announced the loan via their official channels – but all is not what it seems

Manchester City fans are in need of some good news after Friday’s loss to Wolves , and they might have thought they had it when Real Sociedad announced Martin Odegaard would be joining on loan.

The reigning Premier League champions threw away a 2-0 lead at Molineux as Wolves fought back against 10 men to win 3-2 and leave City 14 points adrift of leaders Liverpool, who also have a game in hand.

With City offering up a limp title defence, the club may be forced into action when the transfer window reopens next month – despite Pep Guardiola’s insistence they will not be – and they have been linked with Norway international Odegaard.

The 21-year-old joined Sociedad from Real Madrid on an initial season-long loan back in July and he has shone for a side who are challenging for a Champions League place.

On Saturday, though, Sociedad curiously said Odegaard had been offloaded to City.

“Real Sociedad have reached an agreement with Manchester City over the loan of Martin Odegaard,” a club statement read.

“The player is set to stay at Manchester City until the end of the season.

“The txuri urdin club wants to thank and offer recognition for the job done by Martin. He has shown great professionalism, dedication and loyalty to this club and we wish him well for the future.”

However, Odegaard is highly unlikely to be turning out for City against Sheffield United on Sunday – or indeed at all – as the announcement came on Spain’s ‘Holy Innocents Day’, when practical jokes and fake news are commonplace.

“We are forced to take this difficult decision in order to avoid possible media comments for the next six months,” the Sociedad statement added. “What a relief!”

Odegaard joined Real Madrid from Stromsgodset as a 15-year-old in January 2015 for a reported fee in the region of €3 million (£2.6m/$3.4m).

He has made just two senior appearances for the senior Real side since, initially playing for the reserve team before loan spells at Heerenveen and Vitesse.

Prior to his move to Madrid he become the youngest-ever player to earn a senior cap for Norway when he featured in a friendly against United Arab Emirates in August 2014 at the age of 15 years and 253 days.

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