More on Asensio
Marco Asensio is a name which has been linked with Real Madrid for some quite some time. As far as I can remember, he's been rumored to be in the orbit of the club for the past three seasons but it wasn't until recently that a serious move began to develop. These rumors finally got put to rest as the young player himself confirmed a move to the capitol club as he will be joining on a five-year deal for a reported €3.7m. Worth noting is that Barcelona apparently refused to bite at paying €4.5m for his talents in the last year. But who knows, maybe that rumor had no teeth to it.
So just who is Marco Asensio?
Asensio is an attacking midfielder plying his trade at Segunda division Mallorca. Having been born in the area, he joined his hometown squad and featured in the Mallorca B side in the Tercera division at only age 16 before finally making his first team debut in October 2013. Interesting to note is that both Real Madrid and Barca were interested in him prior to Mallorca snapping him up as their own. Since his first team debut, he's been a regular first team member and has greatly contributed both in terms of goals scored and provided, as well as controlling the offense. This season, in 14 games he has three goals and six assists for a side which has only scored 22 goals. Given that he started for the first team at only age 17, it's clear that this is a young player capable of handling the pressure and rigors of starting minutes. He has also been capped at the Spain U16, U17 and U19 levels.
In terms of playstyle and abilities, comparisons to Isco have been made and for good measure. Asensio boasts fantastic dribbling skills and control in tight spaces, in addition to his bravery and willingness to take the opposition head-on. He initially began his career as a left winger but it wasn't until Mallorca manager Valery Karpin moved him centrally that his game began to flourish. He has a strong sense of when to play the throughball to an oncoming teammate or when to commit to the attack himself and go for goal. While he may not be as polished of a flair wizard such as Isco, he does possess a bit more pace than the Real Madrid midfielder so he'd be suited for the breakneck countering speed at which this club operates, most likely through the middle as a more central attacking midfielder. He is also a strong crosser and finisher of his own, so playing him out wide or as a supporting striker would be feasible as well.
Where he could stand to improve is in his defensive output as he's been playing more in an attacking role and not one tasked with heavily marking the opposition or winning the ball back deeper on the pitch. Additionally, he's not particularly strong in the air so don't expect him to be battling against larger opponents in aerial situations. Given his most effective position as a #10, he'll have to expand his game, just as Isco and James Rodriguez did, to find a way into Carlo Ancelotti's side once he joins. Otherwise, he'll likely be played out wide as opposed to in the middle.
As far as his immediate future once the club confirms the transfer, all signs point to either another year with Mallorca should they be promoted to the Primera division, or a loan stint at a Primera side should Mallorca fail in their mission. However, the final decision could come down to Ancelotti and how he feels Asensio is progressing. Either way, should this deal be finalized, Real Madrid might just find another of Spain's brightest young talents on their hands for an absurdly low price. A masterstroke of a transfer for a player that some consider the best winger/attacking midfielder prospect in Spain's youth ranks.