Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta wants to persuade Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio to join the Gunners in the summer, according to reports.
The north Londoners are having a brilliant season in the Premier League and currently sit at the summit, eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City, although Pep Guardiola’s side have one game in hand.
Arteta will be confident of being provided with the necessary funds to strengthen his squad in the summer transfer market with the Gunners now almost certain to be in next season’s lucrative Champions League.
There have been reports claiming Arteta will have money to spend in the summer and there have been rumours that Real Madrid’s Asensio could be one player they want.
And now Spanish website Nacional claims that Arteta is ‘very close’ to persuading Asensio to ‘betray’ Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and sign for Arsenal.
Asensio ‘will leave Real Madrid in June’ on a free transfer with his contract expiring at the end of this campaign and Los Blancos have failed to convince him to stay.
Perez has ‘given up trying to make him stay’ with his ‘economic’ demands ‘considered excessive and there is now no chance of reaching ‘any agreement or understanding’.
Asensio, who has contributed six goals and four assists in 21 La Liga appearances this campaign, was asking for €6m a season but Real Madrid don’t think the Spain international has done enough to warrant that kind of wage packet.
He has settled for being a regular substitute under Carlo Ancelotti and now his agent, Jorge Mendes, ‘has been in contact with all the suitors he has’ including AC Milan, Tottenham or Paris Saint-Germain.
But ‘everything indicates that Asensio will finally join the ranks of Arsenal’ as they are ‘best positioned’ to land the Spaniard with his compatriot Arteta ‘promising him a leading role’ at the Emirates Stadium.
Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor would no doubt be a fan of Asensio moving to Arsenal as he’s previously said the attacker would be ‘perfect’ for the Gunners.
Speaking at the end of February, Agbonlahor told Football Insider: “It’s exactly the sort of signing they need. Asensio isn’t playing as much as he’d like right now.
“But he’s done so many good things for a long time at Real Madrid. He gets into tight spaces, he’s a flair player.
“They are the characteristics that Arsenal will be searching for this summer. And you look at their bench sometimes and just feel like they could do with a few extra top-quality signings.
“For me, he’s perfect. If Arsenal want to stay in that title fight every year, they’ve got to add to this squad.”