La Liga giants Barcelona have now identified Marco Asensio as one of their top targets and are willing to trigger the Real Madrid star’s £72m release clause, according to reports.
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is fond of the attacking midfielder and wants to lure him away from their arch rivals.
Spanish news outlet Diario Gol claim that Barcelona bosses have now identified Asensio as a cheaper alternative to Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho after being dealt a huge blow in their pursuit of the Brazilian star.
Barca have a whopping £198million in the bank after selling Neymar to Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germian, and they are now desperate to spend the cash to bolster the squad.
Liverpool rejected Barcelona’s £90m bid for Coutinho and have made it clear that the Brazilian is not for sale at any price.
And reports claim that Asensio could be set for a shock switch to Barcelona this summer – a move that will certainly shock La Liga fans.
Asensio is not a regular starter under Zidane and has found himself behind Isco, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lucas Vasquez in the pecking order at Real Madrid – but Barcelona would be able to provide the Spaniard regular game-time.
Back in April, when he was linked with a move to Manchester United, Asensio said: “In the end I do not think about other teams or if I could play in other teams, I always think about Madrid.”
“I found it difficult at first, but you have to work in the training sessions and be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity when it comes.”
“I already said that I wanted to stay and that I was going to fight for minutes.”
Earlier reports had claimed that Asensio was set to sign a new deal with Real Madrid that which included a £136m buy-out clause.
Asensio arrived at Real in 2014 for just £3.5million, and was sent on loan loan to Mallorca and Espanyol before he earned a place in the squad under Zidane last season.
He has ten goals to his name in 38 matches in all competitions, and had scored against Serie A champions Juventus in the Champions League final in Cardiff.
Diario Gol aslo claim that if Barca fail to capture Asensio, they could shift their focus on Isco, who is entering the final year of his contract at Real Madrid.
Another Barca target Borussia Dortmund’s wonderkid Ousmane Dembele has been suspended and fined by the Bundesliga club after the French winger skipped training to force through a move to the Nou Camp.