I don’t think there’s any Liverpool fan who would say no to adding the incredible talent of Real Madrid’s clever playmaker Marco Asensio to the Reds’ already impressive line up. And if Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo are to be believed, the club have made a “firm bid” for the 22-year-old for an eye-watering amount of €180m, or £158m.
This wouldn’t just be “breaking the bank” for the Reds. A bid this big would more than double Liverpool’s current transfer record, which was £75m for defender Virgil Van Dijk in January. The club agreed to pay this amount for the Dutchman after over six months of negotiations with Southampton, and then only because Klopp made it clear that he was dead-set on Van Dijk being his answer in defense and would accept no alternatives.
Asensio would be Liverpool’s second, or even third, choice after the Nabil Fekir transfer fell through earlier in the window. The Fekir deal which, it should be pointed out, was rumoured to have been agreed to by all parties for only around £50m before Liverpool decided against it — less than one-third this apparent, heart-palpitating number.
This performance-enhanced mega-bid, if it were indeed real, could be seen as proof that Liverpool realize they’re going to have to pay a premium for an excellent player, because other teams know they are sitting on that Coutinho money and are eager for another high profile transfer coup. Additionally, conspiracy theorists might posit that the reason Lyon were willing to play ball at only £50m for Fekir, despite his talent, was that they already knew what his medical results would reveal.
Asensio is also said to have a €700m release clause in his contract, set to run out in 2023, which would severely prohibit the club’s bargaining power.
If this does materialize, at this price, Asensio would also likely be the final player that the Reds bring in this summer. Right now, general consensus seems to be that the club is looking to bring in an attacking midfielder and a new goalkeeper, along with another option in depth, probably Shaqiri. This bid would end that speculation, as they could not afford to spend that much on one player and still have the necessary £60-70m it would take to bring a quality goalkeeper to Anfield as well.
Asensio didn’t get the playing time he wanted last season under Zinedine Zidane, but now that the Frenchman is gone and former Spain manager Julen Lopetegui has taken over, Asensio could find himself back in serious contention. Lopetegui included him in the Spain team currently battling it out in Russia, so he clearly rates the young midfielder. Though Lopetegui may way to keep the rising star in his books, final say comes down to owner Florentino Perez, who could offload him for the right price in order to raise the funds for even bigger fish. Apparently Perez believes he can lure Neymar to the Bernebeu to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s successor. And then there is, of course, the matter of ongoing rumours linking Mohamed Salah and even Sadio Mané to Real Madrid as well.
While this huge bid is likely “your transfer rumour is bullshit” territory, it would be crazy for Liverpool not to be interested in Asensio, were he really bent on leaving Madrid this summer.