Arsenal could turn to Marco Asensio in their search to find a creative midfielder…
What’s the word?
That’s according to Calciomercato, who claim that the Gunners are considering a move for the Real Madrid attacker after the Tokyo Olympics.
It comes just days after reports in Spain (via The Sun) suggested that the North London giants were leading the race to sign him in a £34m deal ahead of arch-rivals Spurs and fellow Premier League side Liverpool.
Asensio’s Spain side will face Brazil for the gold medal on Saturday, so once that has been finalised, Arsenal could push ahead to sign the 25-year-old.
Shades of Nasri
Edu Gaspar and co have already splashed in excess of £75m on three new additions but they still lack a replacement for Martin Odegaard, who was a temporary option following the departure of Mesut Ozil.
That form has continued into the Olympics, where he has been a regular and reliable option for his national side.
Unlike an Odegaard or an Ozil, Asensio is a very versatile utility man. He played the majority of his appearances on the wing – 75%, to be precise – but this shouldn’t put off Mikel Arteta from a swoop as he offers plenty of creativity from the role and can play on the inside if needed.
In some ways, he could become a James Rodriguez type, as he often dictated the game for Everton from the right flank under Carlo Ancelotti.
This would bear some similarities to the way Arsene Wenger utilised Samir Nasri. By no means was the Frenchman an enigmatic winger but rather someone who could cut inside and pull the strings in midfield.
Across 125 appearances, Nasri provided 27 goals and 16 assists from midfield and was arguably one of their most gifted players of that time.
Asensio has delivered very similar returns in a Real Madrid shirt, having contributed 37 goals and 22 assists in 193 matches, as per Transfermarkt.
Once tipped to win the Ballon d’Or, the Spaniard is an incredible player on his day and one who has been described as “magical” by Los Blancos teammate Casemiro, whilst ex-Premier League midfielder Joey Barton once dubbed him a “special talent“.
An average of 1.6 key passes per 90 minutes throughout last season further suggests his suitability to becoming a creative influence in a Gunners shirt, especially with Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe topping the charts with 1.4 key passes per game, via WhoScored.
Edu must look to secure Asensio this window. He could go on to become the Gunners’ new Nasri – a versatile and creative beast from out wide.