The future of Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio continues to be a subject of intense speculation ahead of the January transfer window.
The 26-year-old is in the final year of his contract with Los Blancos. And while at one point it looked like he would be allowed to leave for free in the summer of 2023, his recent performances have changed the club’s stance on the matter.
Indeed, Real Madrid are said to be considering offering him a new deal to Asensio while the player himself has admitted his desire to continue at the Santiago Bernabeu beyond the current season.
However, according to reports in Italian media, as relayed by Mundo Deportivo, Premier League giants Arsenal are plotting a surprise raid for Asensio in the January transfer window itself.
The Gunners have had their sights on Asensio for some time now and as they look to mount a successful title challenge in the Premier League, manager Mikel Arteta has sought the signing of the Real Madrid winger during the upcoming winter transfer window.
Real Madrid, for their part, want to renew Asensio and would table a new contract offer for the forward. However, the new deal will see him earn wages similar to what he currently pockets without any drastic improvement.
Given that it had been a bone of contention during the summer, whether Asensio accepts the offer or rejects it remains to be seen. The winger is currently away at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar with the Spanish national team and his future will be decided after he returns.
If he refuses to accept the terms offered, Real Madrid will not stand in the way of a January exit as they would lose him for nothing in the summer of 2023.
The Merengues had sought a fee of around €50 million for Asensio during the summer. But given that he will be in the final six months of his contract in January, the champions of Spain and Europe will have to settle for a lower sum.
Apart from Arsenal, there is interest from the likes of AC Milan and Juventus as well. However, the Italian clubs’ finances could prevent the deal from happening in January, giving the Gunners an edge.
Ancelotti sets a target for Real Madrid to achieve before facing Barcelona in La Liga
Real Madrid are currently the frontrunners to win the La Liga title this season, having established a solid lead atop the table.
After 26 matchdays, Carlo Ancelotti’s Los Blancos have built a six-point lead over second-placed Girona and are eight clear of arch-rivals Barcelona in third.
Ancelotti sets a target
While Real Madrid have already faced Girona and Atletico Madrid twice in La Liga already, they still have to face Barcelona for the second time.
And, as per AS, manager Carlo Ancelotti has set a target for his Real Madrid side to achieve before they face off against Xavi Hernandez’s Barça in a few weeks.
Los Blancos host their bitter rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu in the weekend of April 20-21, in matchweek 32.
And before that, Ancelotti wants Real Madrid to reach 80 points in La Liga, which he believes is the safety point for his team to go on to win the title.
As things stand, the Merengues are on 65 points from 26 games and have five matches to play in the league before they face Barcelona.
And for them to achieve Ancelotti’s intended target, they will have to win each of their matches between now and April 20, which will be anything but straightforward.
After all, Real Madrid are set to face Valencia at a hostile Mestalla this weekend before they take on a Celta Vigo side battling to avoid relegation next week.
Following that, they face a tricky Osasuna side away from home and Athletic Club at home while they will also take on Copa del Rey finalists RCD Mallorca.
Ancelotti wants the La Liga title race wrapped up by this point so that the team can face Barcelona without any pressure and instead keep their focus on the UEFA Champions League, provided they progress in the tournament.
It will be easier said than done, but if we have learned anything from Real Madrid this season, it is that they thrive in the face of adversities.