Rumours emerging from Spain claim that Barcelona are considering activating the €80m buyout clause of Real Madrid starlet Marco Asensio, as a viable alternative to more expensive targets Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.
Spanish outlet Diario Gol claim that Barcelona executives have met to discuss the possibility of a move for the 21-year-old, as they look to replace Neymar, who left for Paris Saint-Germain in a record £200m move.
Asensio, who signed for Real last summer for just €4m from Mallorca, impressed in his debut season with Los Blancos, featuring in 23 La Liga games and scoring in the Champions League final win over Juventus.
The idea of a deal being struck between fierce rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona seems crazy, but Barça are apparently keen to investigate alternative transfer options after seeing bids for Coutinho and Dembele rejected.
Champions League holders Real already boast a congested attack force, while Asensio is currently behind the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco and Gareth Bale for a starting spot – while the likes of Lucas Vasquez provides further competition.
Asensio was a key figure in Spain’s Under-21 side that reached the final of the European Championship – scoring a hat-trick and serving up several man of the match performances.
In addition to Asensio, the report claims Barça are also considering an even more daring move for Isco, whose release clause is set at around €150m.
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The Catalans have been heavily-linked with several targets since Neymar’s dramatic exit, but Dembele and Coutinho – who would each cost around £100m seem the most likely.