Real Madrid rejected £34m transfer bid from Arsenal for Marco Asensio despite major doubts

Mikel Arteta hails Arsenal fans ahead of north London derby

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Arsenal may have spent over £150million on their squad over the summer on six new signings. But it has since emerged that the Gunners also tried to strike a deal for Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio, only to see their attempts to lure the Spaniard away from the Santiago Bernabeu end in failure.

The Gunners have made an underwhelming start to the 2021/22 Premier League campaign, losing all three of their first matches and only managing to beat both Burnley and Norwich 1-0.

The disappointment of the first five games was made worse by the fact that many were expecting the north London side to improve markedly due to how busy the club were in the transfer window.

Mikel Arteta’s side spent approximately £149million this summer as they looked to bring in young prospects, signing Ben White (23), Martin Odegaard (22), Aaron Ramsdale (23), Takehiro Tomiyasu (22), Albert Sambi Lokonga (21) and Nuno Tavares (21).

However, according to Spanish radio station Cadena SER, Arteta was willing to abandon his exclusive under-23 spending spree to bring in 26-year-old Asensio as well.

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The Spain international, who can play as a winger and a midfielder, made 35 appearances for Los Blancos last season, scoring five times and assisting twice.

Arsenal reportedly offered the La Liga side £34million for Asensio’s services, but they were unwilling to part ways with him despite the uncertainty with his future in the Spanish capital.

According to Marca, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Asensio at the moment and whether he has a position in the squad, and if so, whether he will he sign a contract extension.

It is thought that former manager Zinedine Zidane valued the forward more than Carlo Ancelotti does.

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Asensio showcased what he is capable of when handed an opportunity earlier this week.

The former Mallorca player scored a hat-trick against his former side, which then raised questions as to why he hasn’t featured more frequently recently considering the absences of Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos.

It is more likely that Asensio will find his opportunities in midfield rather than in the final third with former Everton boss Ancelotti now in charge.

The Italian manager has Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard, Vinicius Junior, Gareth Bale, Rodrygo and Luka Jovic at his disposal now as he looks to continue his unbeaten start to the season.

But, despite his lack of faith this season – making four of his five appearances from the bench – Asensio appeared to be confident that he can win over Ancelotti.

“I had a little chat with Carlo and he conveyed very positive things, good things and I know that I can learn a lot from everything they can teach me,” he said, speaking to Marca ahead of his call-up to the Spain Olympics squad.

“He has a lot of experience in the world of football.”

Arsenal’s pursuit of Asensio raises questions as to where Arteta would have utilised the two-time Champions League winner.

Given the options available to Arteta, it is difficult to see how Asensio could have been a guaranteed starter. The Gunners had already spent £35m to bring back Odegaard in the No.10 role, with Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe available to play in the wide areas.

If Asensio decides he wants to leave the Santiago Bernabeu before his contract expires in 2023, it would be no surprise to see the Gunners return with a cut-price bid to try and prise him away before the La Liga side loses him on a free transfer.

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