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SPORTS UPDATE

Asensio to make transfer decision amidst Arsenal approach

Arsenal are ‘ready’ to firm up their interest in Real Madrid star Marco Asensio after Carlo Ancelotti revealed the Spaniard wishes to leave the Santiago Bernabeu this summer.

The Gunners are still in the market for another attacking signing with Wolves’ Pedro Neto said to be the club’s ‘priority’ target this week. Asensio has long been linked with a switch to the Premier League and now the 26-year-old has changed representatives to join joined Jorge Mendes’s Gestifute agency and a representative is ‘on standby’ to talk to the Gunners in London.

Asensio has made 236 appearances for Madrid since his arrival back in 2015, scoring 49 goals and providing a further 24 assists in that time. Arsenal have let club record signing Nicolas Pepe leave the club on-loan to join Ligue 1 side OGC Nice for the 2022/23 campaign and now are hoping to sign a new attacker to provide competition for Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe.

The Real Madrid star’s contract expires next summer meaning the Gunners could secure Asensio’s services in a cut-price deal if they were to turn their interest into a formal bid. Arsenal could face competition from Manchester United who also hold a firm interest in the Spaniard, but Erik ten Hag’s pursuit of Ajax winger Antony suggests that United are focusing on trying to find a breakthrough for the Brazilian.

Asensio has refused to sign a new deal at the Bernabeu which could see Madrid look to cash in on the 26-year-old, having placed a £23.5million price tag on his shoulders, with the club desperate not to lose him on a free transfer next summer, according to The Mirror. The Spain international wants more game time than he has been getting ahead of the World Cup, but Ancelotti has been unable to give him any guarantees due to the form of Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde alongside Karim Benzema in attack.

Arteta has made no secret of his desire to sign more players before the transfer window slams shut next Thursday, and admitted that the decision to let Pepe leave on loan was in the best interests of all parties. Steps are thought to be in place to replace the Ivorian forward, with Asensio understood to be high on the list of targets.

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