The Hard Tackle takes a look at three potential destinations for Marco Asensio, with a possible exit from Real Madrid on the horizon in the summer.
It has been an incredibly inconsistent campaign for Real Madrid, who will have only themselves to blame if they end 2020/21 without winning a single trophy. Indeed, Los Blancos had been listless in their UEFA Champions League semi-final defeat to Chelsea earlier this month while bowing out of the Copa del Rey quite early.
In La Liga, Zinedine Zidane & co. have done well to bridge the gap to leaders Atletico Madrid since the turn of the year, but have started dropping points when given the chance to leapfrog their local rivals to the top spot on the table.
This tendency to slip-up at crucial junctures has been frustrating for Zidane and Real Madrid fans alike, and their young crop of forwards embody this blow-hot-blow-cold nature better than anyone else. The likes of Marco Asensio, Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. all have been touted for a bright future at Real Madrid, having shown a lot of potential till now.
However, none of the three has managed to remain consistent enough to provide the right kind of support to Karim Benzema to push the Merengues towards glory. As far as Asensio is concerned, he has a largely unimpressive return of 7 goals and 2 assists to show for his efforts this term.
It is this inconsistency that has meant that he has been rotated quite heavily by Zidane over the course of the season. All in all, the youngster has failed to live up to his potential since returning from a long-term injury and things might reach a head this summer.
As per claims by reputed Spanish journalist Eduardo Inda, Asensio will ask to leave Real Madrid in the summer transfer window if Zidane is still at the helm at the club, having grown frustrated with his rotation role. Such a development does put Real Madrid in a spot of bother, but it could also give them a chance to raise funds to sign their priority targets.
With that in mind, The Hard Tackle picks out three potential destinations for Asensio in the summer transfer window, if he remains adamant on sealing an exit from Real Madrid.
The first name on our list is a club that has been linked with Asensio on a number of occasions over the years. We are, of course, talking about Liverpool, who are reportedly keen on swooping the 25-year-old away from Real Madrid in the summer, once again popping up in the race to sign him.
The interest from Liverpool makes sense as well, considering there are question marks around the future of Mohamed Salah, who has coincidentally been linked with Real Madrid. If Salah does end up calling it quits at Anfield this coming summer, Liverpool will be in serious need of signing a top class wide forward.
Asensio, to that end, would be a viable option for Liverpool to replace Salah, although the Spaniard would be worth considering even if the Egyptian international stays put. Indeed, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi are expected to leave the Merseyside club this summer while Harvey Elliott is unlikely to become a first-team regular just yet.
With that in mind, Asensio could fill the spot in the Liverpool attacking unit that could open up in the summer from the departures of Shaqiri and Origi, paving the way for the Reds to create a formidable attacking arsenal. The Real Madrid forward could then be a signing akin to Diogo Jota, who arrived at Anfield and set the stage alight almost instantly. A move that makes sense all the parties involved.
The next club on our list has not been a suitor for Asensio just yet. But, the Spanish international is a player who could suit Arsenal and their style of play under the tutelage of Mikel Arteta almost perfectly, making a transfer potentially a match made in heaven.
At Arsenal, Arteta prefers a possession-oriented style of play, which places the onus on the three midfielders to ensure his side’s dominance in a game. The wide forwards, meanwhile, add to the creative impetus on show, which is where Asensio comes in with his eye for a pass in addition to the change of pace that he possesses.
This pacy outlet would also come in handy in games where Arsenal wish to sit deep and hit their opponents on the counter, as was the case this week against Chelsea. And, with Willian flattering to deceive since arriving from Chelsea last summer, Asensio would be the ideal replacement for the north Londoners to consider, creating a long-term partnership between him, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka.
The only thing potentially holding Arsenal back from making a move for Asensio would be his valuation, but certain reports have claimed that Real Madrid will charge only €50 million, which could be within the reach of the Gunners. Therefore, this could be a move that could see the light of the day, if Asensio pushes on with his intention to leave Real Madrid.
Finally, we are back to a club that is keen on securing the services of Asensio. In fact, Inda himself has claimed that Juventus are interested in signing the 25-year-old from Real Madrid this summer and have already made an offer to take him to the Allianz Stadium ahead of the 2021/22 season.
The interest from Juventus is understandable as well, with Federico Bernardeschi expected to be moved on in the summer transfer window after failing to impress so far in his stint with the Italian giants. In addition, Dejan Kulusevski is also attracting interest from several clubs while the future of Paulo Dybala is hardly set in stone.
With that in mind, Asensio is a viable target for Juventus, who could deploy the Spaniard in one of the two wide midfield slots in Andrea Pirlo’s 4-4-2 setup. With the 25-year-old also not averse to putting in the hard yards defensively, he could be the perfect candidate to line up on the flanks and be the ideal foil to Federico Chiesa and former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
The slower nature of Serie A football would also suit Asensio, who can exploit his pacy outlet to make a big impact for the Bianconeri, thereby continuing the growth that has been stunted in the past couple of years. All in all, this is a move that will hardly be a surprise if Juventus pull it off.