Marco Asensio’s future at Real Madrid continues to remain uncertain. The 26-year-old, who had been out of favour under Carlo Ancelotti earlier this season, still has no clear solution over the same.
Although he was a part of the starting XI against RB Leipzig in the recent UEFA Champions League outing, he will likely return to his usual bench role when the team takes on Girona in La Liga.
As far as the player is concerned, even though he was mulling an exit at one point, he wants to continue at the Bernabeu, despite flirting with the idea of playing for Madrid’s arch-rivals Barcelona. But for now, there is no significant movement in that regard.
As reported by Diario AS, Real Madrid are willing to hand him a new three-year deal albeit without a major improvement in the salary.
The report highlights that the winger is also now much more open to continuing his stay at the club. However, at the moment, a resolution over his future has still not been arrived at.
Despite the lack of minutes, Asensio has put in decent performances of late, having provided two assists and a goal in each of his last three outings, which came against Leipzig, Sevilla and Elche.
What is even more impressive is that he returned with those figures against the La Liga teams despite playing combined 23 minutes.
As for the game against Leipzig, while Asensio did get an assist, his performance was not up to scratch. Despite that, Ancelotti praised the winger after the game. “He played well, he suffered like everyone else, and he gave an assist,” said the Italian.
The main bone of contention during contract talks in the past had been Asensio’s wage demands. While Real Madrid had decided to walk away from talks at one point, they are now willing to hand him a three-year deal, but with little salary increment. Whether he finds such a condition acceptable remains to be seen.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.