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Asensio has Madrid convinced, but someone needs to make way

Asensio has done enough on Real Madrid's preseason tour to convince both Zidane and the club's directors that he should stay, but Isco or James will likely have to leave instead


Marco Asensio is Real Madrid’s “big signing” this summer. In 109 minutes played against Chelsea and PSG, he’s the only new face on the North American tour that has dazzled for Real Madrid. He’s recorded an 86% pass completion rate, taken three shots, won four fouls, and has been a constant danger with the ball at his feet. He hasn’t just convinced Zidane (“I’m delighted with what’s he’s doing”), but also the club’s directors, who want to make space for him in Real Madrid’s 2016-17 squad.

One in, one out transfer policy 

Real Madrid’s transfer policy this summer has been clear: “A player needs to leave before one can come in”, the hierarchy has insisted. They’ve missed out on Pogba, Kanté and Verratti, but the emergence of this young Balearic footballer (who’s potential seems to have exploded after his spell at Espanyol) has been the saving grace for the directors in maintaining their stance.

Real Madrid's Marco Asensio in action with Chelsea's Bertrand Traore
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Real Madrid's Marco Asensio in action with Chelsea's Bertrand TraoreRebecca CookREUTERS

James or Isco could make way 

However, sticking with Asensio may have repercussions for others in the squad. James or Isco would have to leave this summer, because if not Asensio would be left with very little opportunity to play. “If Asensio stays with us, he knows what he’s going to have here and the players that there are. I’m his coach, not his friend,” advised Zidane. The Frenchman isn’t entirely convinced of James’ willingness to play a secondary role at the club, but he’s one of the president’s untouchables. It’s not the same for Isco, who does convince Zidane but creates doubts amongst the directors.

Asensio, who was signed in December in 2014 for €3.9 million, renovated his contract this summer until 2022 after loan spells with Espanyol and Mallorca. On the day that Real Madrid unveiled its new kit on 14 July, Asensio was left without a squad number and also didn’t appear on the official website as a member of the first team. That was because the young midfielder hadn’t then persuaded those in charge that he was capable of playing a major role in the side and was being prepared for third spell on loan away from the club. But Real Madrid have changed their minds.

Asensio though has no doubt: he wants to stay at Madrid and is not contemplating any other possibility.


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