A player exchange for the first time since 2000 could take place between fierce rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid. It was Luis Figo that time, who swapped for Real Madrid from Barcelona, and this time it could be the other way round for Marco Asensio. The Spaniard has grown frustrated of his lack of chances at Real, and for regular gametime, is even ready to join rivals Barcelona.
The move could to unsettle the fans, as well as add to already heightened bitterness between the two clubs. However, Asensio is ready to spark all that, if it means he’s going to get regular minutes. Furthermore, his contract too expires at the end of the current season, making him a free agent by the summer. And the Catalans have already laid bare their strategy for the next few transfer windows, poaching the free agents.
Barcelona already in talks to bring in Asensio in the summer
Asensio has been a rather loyal employee of Real Madrid, staying at the club since 2016 despite been handed a benchwarmer’s role. The winger could never establish his place in the starting eleven, given the likes of attacking potent the club the possessed in that position. The availability of the wingers in Gareth Bale, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo, Lucas Vazquez have hindered Asensio’s growth at the club where he has enjoyed a mere 65 league starts across the last five seasons.
However, it was this time that the Spain international has finally decided to move on. His frustration peaked last season, when Carlo Ancelotti, without an experienced right winger still started Asensio only 25 times in 56 games in all competitions. The Real boss has followed in the trend this season as well by handing the former Mallorca player a mere 6 starts across the club’s 27 games.
Differences further grew after according to reports, Asensio was not satisfied with the reduced terms provided by Real for a contract extension. The 27-year-old has considerably higher demands which club president Florentino Perez is not prepared to give into. As a result, Asensio recently switched his agent from Horacio Gaggioli to super-agent Jorge Mendes in order to negotiate a move out of Santiago Bernabeu.
And Mendes has close ties to Barca, and according to SPORT, the Blaugrana have discussed signing Asensio on a free transfer. The winger is still in his prime, has ample experience of featuring in the Champions League winning it thrice with the Los Blancos, and has also registered an impressive 33 goals and 34 assists in La Liga across spells with Real and Mallorca. A possible free transfer would then make Asensio the first player since ex-Spain coach Luis Enrique to switch from Real to Barca in 1996.
However, although Barcelona would be helped by avoiding to pay a transfer fee for the talented attacker, how the club will cover his salary demands and his position as well in Xavi’s team is still being questioned. The La Liga leaders are currently stacked on the wings in Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Raphinha. It could be a repeat of events from his Real Madrid years for Asensio, if Xavi again decides to use him as his benchwarmer. As a result, the Real star could consider ither offers as well, with many Premier League sides keen on him.