Barcelona have been backed to complete a shock raid on Real Madrid for Marco Asensio, though Manchester United could save Carlo Ancelotti’s side some embarrassment and land him first.
Asensio has made 237 appearances for Real since joining from Mallorca in July 2015. In that time, he has managed 49 goals and 24 assists.
The right winger, who can also play as a central attacking midfielder or on the left flank, seems to be low in the pecking order for the current campaign.
He has made just one outing in La Liga, and that only lasted seven minutes. It seems Ancelotti will go with Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior out wide, in support of talisman Karim Benzema.
If the Italian manager does want to change things up, then he can use Fede Valverde on the right instead of Rodrygo.
Valverde is generally seen as a central midfielder but has been deployed further forward under Ancelotti. This allows Real to change into a 4-4-2 when defending, as Valverde drops into midfield.
Asensio will gradually become frustrated as he spends more and more time on the bench. At some point he will surely decide that his future lies elsewhere.
And the Spain international is in a good position to make a transfer happen. His Real contract expires next summer, which means he can run it down and leave on a free transfer.
Or, if Asensio wants a more urgent move, then he can push for Real to accept a January bid for him. This shouldn’t be worth too much due to his expiring terms.
Newcastle United and Arsenal have previously kept tabs on his situation with a view to a permanent move.
Man Utd the main Prem team looking at Marco Asensio
However, it is now Manchester United who are the primary English suitors for Asensio. According to CaughtOffside, who cite reports in Spain, the Red Devils have shown an interest in taking the wide man on board.
But they are not the only interested party. That’s because other Spanish outlets put Asensio on Barcelona’s radar.
Few players have ever swapped Real for Barca, or Barca for Real, in a direct transfer. When Luis Figo did it in summer 2000, it was met with huge controversy.
Asensio would be disliked by Real supporters if he did move to the Nou Camp. However, the report claims Barca still hold an interest in capturing him as this is not putting them off.
The Blaugrana have spent big this year, amid their financial problems, and could do with landing cheaper stars next year. Due to Asensio’s contract situation, he fits into this bracket.
Should the attacker leave Real, then Los Blancos chiefs will be hoping he heads to Man Utd rather than Barca. They do not want a close La Liga rival to be strengthened.
Plus, there is also the financial aspect of his exit. Marco Asensio was valued at £81m by transfermarkt, during the height of his form in October 2018.
So Real losing him to Barca for next to nothing would be a major embarrassment. A free transfer to Man Utd would still be bad, just not quite as damaging.