The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at Marco Asensio’s potential destinations if the Spanish international ends up leaving Real Madrid this summer.
It is the onset of the 2017/18 season. Real Madrid beat bitter rivals Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate in Supercopa de Espana. One player who stood out with two outstanding goals was Marco Asensio, and it was mooted that it was the start of the Spaniard’s ascendancy as a world-class player.
Fast forward four years, and it is safe to say that the 25-year-old’s progress has stagnated, thanks in part due to a long-term knee injury that forced him to miss nearly the entire 2019/20 season. That time out has clearly hampered Asensio, who blew hot and cold at an alarming rate in 2020/21, managing a return of seven goals and two assists in 48 appearances across all competitions.
His inconsistencies, combined with those of fellow youngsters like Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. played a part in Real Madrid’s failure to win a trophy last term. Now, as Los Blancos turn their attention towards going deep in every competition in the upcoming season, some big changes could be on the horizon, even though they have not been keen spenders so far.
As per recent reports, Real Madrid are open to selling all but five players in the first-team squad if they receive an acceptable bid. And Asensio could well be on his way out of the Spanish capital as well, with a trio of Premier League clubs hot on his trails. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle now examines the potential destinations for Asensio if Real Madrid do cash in on the Spanish forward.
Assessing the transfer situation
Everton are in a period of transition following Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to make his way to Real Madrid. The Italian tactician has since been replaced by a former Real Madrid manager himself in Rafael Benitez, who has a major task of bringing in more adept wide players.
To an extent, that situation has already been addressed with the addition of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend. However, amid Richarlison’s strong links with Real Madrid, the Toffees need to be on the lookout for a possible replacement, especially with Alex Iwobi failing to make his mark since joining Everton from Arsenal.
With that in mind, Asensio is certainly a viable target for Everton, with the Spanish forward bringing some much-needed winning mentality to Goodison Park. Having said that, the absence of European football could be a major factor, possibly putting Everton at the bottom of the pile when it comes to Asensio’s suitors.
Transfer Likelihood: 6/10
Is Everton the right club?
From Asensio’s perspective, a club like Everton could work wonders for him, if Rafael Benitez implements a style of play the primarily focuses on counter-attacks. Such an outlook would suit Asensio more than a possession-based style, bringing his creative instincts to the fore better.
His ability to play on either flank will also tune in well with Benitez’s approach. Asensio also has a decent cross in him, which would make him an ideal foil for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. At the same time, he can also execute intricate plays, which brings former Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez into play if the Colombian ends up staying put at Goodison Park.
Approval Rating: 7/10
Assessing the transfer situation
At Leicester City, Brendan Rodgers has built a squad that is capable of efficiently playing different formations, even when they are switched around within a game. However, one aspect sorely lacking in the first-team setup is wide-attacking options.
Indeed, apart from Marc Albrighton and Harvey Barnes, Rodgers does not have a winger at his disposal, especially following the departure of Cengiz Under after a disappointing loan spell. While Rachid Ghezzal has returned to the King Power Stadium after playing on loan at Besiktas, he does not really have much of a future at Leicester.
Therefore, it goes without saying that the Foxes can do with a wide attacker, which brings Asensio into the picture. In fact, Leicester have already been linked with a few wingers so far this summer, including Manchester United wide man Daniel James, although Real Madrid forward Asensio would be an even better addition.
Transfer Likelihood: 8/10
Is Leicester City the right club?
Right off the bat, the first factor keeping Leicester in good stead when it comes to pursuing Marco Asensio is the fact that they can offer European football while also having aspirations to return to the UEFA Champions League.
As far as the tactical side of things are concerned, Asensio could be an upgrade on Albrighton in the long run, although he will need to address the defensive aspect of his game in order to truly replace the experience Englishman.
Playing alongside an overly creative player like James Maddison could also boost his figures, which have been sorely lacking for some time now. All in all, though, the addition of a versatile attacker like Asensio could pave the way for a fluid attacking setup, one where Asensio can surely thrive while still competing in Europe.
Approval Rating: 9/10
Assessing the transfer situation
Leeds United are a club that have shown a lot of ambition without really spending truckloads of money to completely overhaul their squad. Instead, Marcelo Bielsa has been able to retain much of the core group of players that got them to the Premier League in the first place while implementing subtle changes.
A few more shuffles have come about this summer, with only the left-back slot witnessing a major shift. Attack, though, is one area that is reportedly up to be bolstered in the ongoing window owing to Helder Costa’s struggles in the 2020/21 season.
To that end, the Whites have been linked with a number of wide attackers this summer, including Adama Traore, Daniel James and Farid Boulaya. However, in Asensio, Leeds would have a genuine match-winner signed, provided they can land him for a reasonable sum which fits their budget.
Transfer Likelihood: 7/10
Is Leeds United the right club?
Like Everton, Leeds cannot offer European football, which automatically puts them on the backfoot when going up against a club like Leicester City. However, their upwards trajectory coupled with an eye-catching style of play makes them an appealing destination. Having said that, Asensio will need to bring his fitness levels up to a certain standard to completely fit into Marcelo Bielsa’s approach in a game.
So, like Rodrigo Moreno, it could take him some time to settle in completely at Elland Road before eventually becoming a key player. His creative nous, though, would make the Real Madrid forward an ideal competitor for Raphinha and Jack Harrison, as far as the wide attacking positions are concerned.