Arsenal or Newcastle could spare Real Madrid’s blushes by signing frustrated forward Marco Asensio one window before Barcelona nip in, per a report.
At 26, Marco Asensio should be enjoying the prime years of his career at the Bernabeu. However, given the stiff level of competition for places, the Spain international is spending an increasing amount of time rooted to the bench.
Indeed, two of Carlo Ancelotti’s front three are practically automatic selections.
Karim Benzema leads the line and Vinicius Jr. occupies the left wing. That duo almost pick themselves.
Brazilian Rodrygo is coming into his own on the right wing, while Federico Valverde can deputise in the position against tougher opponents.
Predominantly a right winger, Asensio therefore has two stars he must usurp before attaining regular minutes.
He’s failed to do that for the bulk of the current campaign, racking up a paltry 47 minutes of action across all competitions.
Ancelotti has publicly backed Asensio and still considers him an important member of his squad. However, he is in the final year of his contract at Real Madrid and talks over a new deal aren’t progressing.
Barcelona could snatch Asensio for nothing
That’s led to the almost unthinkable proposition of bitter rivals Barcelona swooping in for a free agent coup next summer.
That idea was detailed by Caught Offside last week and is backed up by Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo today.
They claim Barca’s ongoing financial difficulties make signing Asensio as a free agent an exceedingly attractive idea.
At 26, Barcelona view him as someone in his prime who also has a long career ahead of him. His top level experience having helped Real to numerous Champions League titles is another plus.
However, if Asensio doesn’t sign an extension, overseas clubs will be able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement come January 1. That is not an avenue open to Barca who won’t swoop until next summer.
Foreign clubs therefore have a one-window advantage over Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reaffirm Asensio has suitors from England.
The inference in the piece is they could reignite their moves in January, either for a cut-price deal or a pre-contract agreement ahead of a free agent pick up six months later.
Caught Offside previously suggested Manchester United could walk that same route. However, the arrival of Antony would mean Asensio faces a similar dilemma to the one he’s experiencing in Madrid.
Real’s stance remains they want Asensio to pen fresh terms. However, if that option closes for good, it stands to reason they’ll do all they can to avoid the PR disaster of Asensio joining Barcelona for nothing.
Arsenal want a new winger – Fabrizio Romano
If the Gunners were to mobilise for Asensio, the obvious question is where would he play?
Bukayo Saka has a stranglehold on the right wing berth, though that didn’t stop them bidding for Raphinha.
Fabrizio Romano recently claimed the wing is one of two positions Arsenal will seek to address in January. The other is central midfield.
Nicolas Pepe’s loan move to Nice has left Arteta short of left-footed options to compete with Saka on the right.
Youngster Marquinhos could conceivably fit that bill. He impressed when notching a goal and assist against FC Zurich in the Europa League last week.
However, he lacks top level experience and it would be a big ask expecting him to fill Saka’s shoes when the congested fixture list forces Arteta to rotate.