Liverpool are the ‘favourites’ to land Marco Asensio from Real Madrid in the summer transfer window, according to reports.
In November, Arsenal and Liverpool were named among five clubs keen to sign the 26-year-old as he continues to struggle for minutes under Carlo Ancelotti.
Asensio was in and out the team under Zinedine Zidane and had hoped to feature more under the Italian but he has only started 13 La Liga matches this season.
Toxic Twitter ‘fans’ are not just a Liverpool problem
And now Spanish publication Nacional insist that, with Asensio not an ‘undisputed starter’ under Ancelotti, the Majorca-born attacking midfielder is ‘thinking of leaving this coming summer’.
He is worried that if Real Madrid president Florentino Perez lands Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe in the summer that ‘his minutes will go from punctual to almost none’.
Asensio has 16 months left on his deal at the Bernabeu and he is unlikely to be ‘short of offers’ if he decides he wants to leave before 2023.
It is understood that Liverpool are ready to ‘really go’ for him as Jurgen Klopp like his attacking midfielders and wingers to have ‘goalscoring ability’.
Klopp ‘has already asked’ about Asensio and that Real Madrid have ‘no plans to improve’ their contract renewal offer to Asensio, who has ‘two offers’ from the Premier League.
Nacional add that Liverpool and Arsenal are the duo of clubs to have made their interest in the Spanish international known with the Reds willing to offer ‘50% more’ than Real’s €6m-a-year offer.
Los Blancos want him to sign a new deal on the same €4.5m salary but with €1.5m ‘in variables’ and now his ‘case is very clear’.
Asensio ‘will leave’ if Real Madrid ‘does not match’ the offer from Liverpool with the Merseysiders now the ‘big favourites’ for his signature.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Klopp kept his composure despite Manchester City’s defeat against Tottenham last weekend, insisting the Premier League title picture has not changed for the Reds.
Klopp said yesterday: “I was on the way home when it was 2-1 to Tottenham and didn’t follow it anymore because I was sure they would equalise. Then we went out and the driver was very excited and told me that it was 2-2 and then 3-2, I thought City won but it was Tottenham, so ‘ohh’ was my reaction.
“Nothing changes for us, we have to win all our games. I think you can expect that (Manchester City will win all their games). Historically it happens more often than not.
“We have so many games to play and, yes, if we could win them all it’s a title race. If not then it’s maybe not a title race.
“There are so many things that can happen in football. I cannot – I’m just not made for it – count points on our account before we’ve played the game. If other people do that, that’s OK because they are not directly involved.
“That’s why we have to be 100 per cent focused on just this one game because we cannot win the game and the league and everything in one game. We just have to try to make sure we win a very difficult Premier League game.”