Newcastle face test of mettle as European giants look to rival Magpies in pursuit of statement signing

Macro Asensio, Jesus Vallejo, Luka Modric, Real Madrid, April 2022

Newcastle United face a battle with Barcelona, as both sides are reportedly looking to land the signing of Real Madrid ace Marco Asensio.

Newcastle have had no problems in luring big names to St James’ Park in recent times. That is in no small part thanks to their lucrative takeover in 2021.

The injection of funds that came with new ownership meant that they became the richest club in the world. As such, they have been able to make a number of improvements to their squad.

In January, Eddie Howe spent around £90million, in order to shape the squad to his liking – the statement signing that window being Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes.

In the summer, the manager continued to add to his side. The two big signings were centre-back Sven Botman – who was targeted by a few sides – and striker Alexander Isak. Those additions totalled nearly £100million between them.

They have also meant for better team performances as a whole. Indeed, the Magpies have lost just one league game this season, and they sit sixth in the table.

Not only that, but the snares have shown the pulling power that Newcastle now have, given they beat last season’s Serie A winners AC Milan to the signing of Botman.

The Magpies clearly managed to flex their muscles over Milan for him. They will hope they are able to do the same with another potential snare.

Transfer insider Pedro Almeida reports Newcastle have been in contact with the agent of Real Madrid ace Asensio for months.

Asensio a statement Newcastle signing

The signing of Asensio would be a big statement from Newcastle. Indeed, they have lured some good players to the club of late: both Botman and Isak have played in European competition perviously.

However, Asensio would be another level up from those signings. The Spaniard has won the Champions League three times, contributing to nine goals across the three triumphant campaigns.

He has also been in a La Liga winning side on three occasions, too. Despite his obvious talent, the attacker has fallen down the pecking order at Real in recent seasons.

Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema is the first name on the team sheet, and Vinicius Jr is not far behind. Then Federico Valverde, Rodrygo, Eden Hazard and Lucas Vazquez are contenders for a spot in the attack.

As such, a place in the side is not a sure thing for Asensio. Reports last month stated the 26-year-old – who is in the last year of his contract – would not be offered a new deal.

As such, Newcastle could be well in with a chance of landing their target.

However, Almeida also reports that Barcelona are in the mix for his signature. Competition from one of Europe’s biggest sides represents a true test of the Magpies’ mettle.

Whether Asensio would rather move to Newcastle or Barcelona remains to be seen.

However, it would be a massive snare for the English side, should they lure a talent such as Asensio away from his home country to the club.