Newcastle United are among the admirers of Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio and should have a better chance of meeting the figures required than another suitor, according to reports.
Asensio has entered the final year of his contract with Real Madrid, where he faces an uncertain future. They cannot guarantee him a regular role of prominence; indeed, he only started half of their La Liga games last season.
The winger has been linked with a Premier League move for a while, although rumours about Liverpool have been brushed aside.
However, Newcastle are more likely to be able to meet Madrid’s asking price than the Serie A champions, who would be asking for a cheaper deal. As such, the Spanish outfit would prefer a sale to the Premier League.
They initially wanted €50m (£42.3m) for him, but will now listen to offers between €35m (£29.6m) and €40m (£33.8m). There is a feeling they could even go as low as €25m (£21.1m).
Asensio has not told them explicitly that he wants to leave, but neither have Madrid made an attempt to renew his contract. Hence, separating this summer – especially with the World Cup on the horizon – may make sense.
Furthermore, Asensio would be open to seeing out the final year of his contract and leaving for free in 2023. Madrid would not allow him to do that, though.
Hence, there could be an opportunity for Newcastle to get their man. They have not made an official offer yet, but if they can sign him, would give him the sort of starring role that he craves.
In addition, they can satisfy his demand of wanting a better salary from his next deal. On the other hand, Milan could not accommodate such a request, even though they have Champions League football on offer and Newcastle do not.
Asensio would be biggest PIF signing yet for Newcastle
Newcastle have been quite prudent so far in the transfer market since their Saudi-backed takeover last year. Although they have huge funds available, they have been focusing on more useful players than world-class stars.
The likes of Matt Targett and Dan Burn may not have been the star arrivals fans dreamed of after the takeover. But they have proved their worth so far, giving Newcastle a solid foundation from which to build.
Tottenham want Marco Asensio but so do AC Milan
Tottenham Hotspur want to sign Marco Asensio from Real Madrid but face competition from AC Milan
Adding someone like Asensio would represent the beginning of a shift in dynamic. He is a player of Champions League calibre, who would instantly elevate the quality at St James’ Park.
If they can get him for less than £30m as well, it would be good business. It will now be up to them to convince Madrid and Asensio that they are the best option, despite some strong competition.