Everton, Leeds United and Leicester City are competing for the services of Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio, according to reports in Spain.
Asensio has fallen out of favour in Madrid following the return of Carlo Ancelotti as coach. The former Toffees boss needs to get rid of some players from his newly inherited squad and Asensio is one of those most at risk. His new coach prefers other players, so he could be discarded.
The 25-year-old has been with Madrid since 2014, when they signed him from Mallorca and loaned him straight back. Another loan, with Espanyol, followed, before he became a Real first-team player from 2016 onwards.
He hit double figures of goals in each of his first two seasons in the Spanish capital. However, his third season was slightly less productive and his fourth was hampered by an ACL injury. His gametime increased last season, but he may not have shown enough to revive his Real career.
Overlooked by Spain for Euro 2020, like all his eligible teammates, he only has one cap for his country since the start of 2020. To prevent his career dwindling further, a move away from Madrid may be required.
In doing so, Asensio could end up in the Premier League. He has already been linked with the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, but to be realistic, may have to look elsewhere.
That said, he is still capable of performing for a decent club, which is why he is now being tipped to move to one of three sides, all of whom will be hoping to finish in the top half this season.
According to Fichajes, Asensio is a target for Everton, Leeds and Leicester.
In the case of Everton, a move would see Ancelotti sell a player back to the club he walked away from earlier this summer. Returning to Real was an offer too good to turn down for him, which has in turn cast doubt on some of their players – none more so than James Rodriguez.
Ancelotti was a major factor in convincing Rodriguez to reunite with him at a third club last summer. The Colombia playmaker now admits he does not know where he will be playing next season. Thus, if he leaves, Fichajes expect Everton to move for Asensio as his replacement.
Leeds, Leicester look at Asensio
Alternatively, Leeds could make a move for him if their pursuit of compatriot Adama Traore fails. They have reportedly made a bid for the Wolves winger, but are aware that Asensio would be cheaper.
Although they have different styles of play, Leeds like both players, so will weigh up their options between the two.
Finally, Leicester are in need of a winger after last season’s loanee Cengiz Under failed to impress and didn’t return. Asensio would give them more guarantees and would help their push for a top-four finish.
They have occupied such a space for most of the last two seasons, before falling at the final hurdle each time. Bringing in a player of Champions League calibre may help them get over the line, making it third time lucky.
Fichajes believe this is the perfect time for Real to sell Asensio, whose contract expires in 2023. His form at the Olympics this summer has not been too encouraging, so his value is dropping.
What may be a problem for Real, though, could be an opportunity for any of his three Premier League admirers. In the right environment, Asensio has plenty of time to get back on track, so could be a shrewd signing.