Once perceived to become one of the greats in football, Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio has been taking lots of hits from the media.
The Spanish international joined the club from RCD Mallorca back in 2015 and was thought to be one of the clubs most promising signings but now there’s a lot of talk about Asensio’s future.
It is no surprise that his recent performances for both club and country have been sub-par so admits a busy summer transfer window, it’s questionable as to whether or not the 23-year-old stays in Madrid.
When comparing how he was playing one or two seasons ago, things clearly have not taken off as fast as once hoped.
In the 2016/17 season for instance, Asensio made 38 appearances for Madrid scoring 10 goals and providing four assists.
Only a year later, Zinedine Zidane handed Asensio more responsibility and played him a total of 53 times where he found the back of the net 11 times and created six assists.
Now throughout the 2018/19 season, the 23-year-old made 44 appearances for the club (which includes being out for five games with a muscle injury) but only six goals and seven assists to his name.
Of course just looking at the statistics, many fans might think selling Asensio is the best option.
But it is important not to jump the gun here. Despite a decline in individual contributions to the club, the key detail is that Asensio is not really playing that bad.
He still maintained a pass completion rate of 87% and 1.2 passes per game after his worst season with Real Madrid. Add on his fluid movement and ability to play either as a left winger or an attacking midfielder and his skill is still there.
To tap into the talent the that is still waiting to be unearthed, it might make sense to loan out Asensio to another club.
Taking a year or two to redevelop himself either in Italy, England or somewhere else in Spain would be greatly beneficial and Inter Milan and Liverpool have been rumoured targets for the young forward.
With Vinicius Junior, Brahim Diaz, Eden Hazard and others staying at the club, Zinedane has enough squad members to cover the void if Asensio leaves.
If missing him for a few seasons means bringing him back as a fully-developed reliable talent, that is something the club must seriously consider.