‘An Arsenal type of player’: Steve McManaman claims Real Madrid attacker is perfect for Gunners

Steve McManaman believes that Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio would be a great signing for Arsenal next year

Steve McManaman
Former Liverpool FC star Steve McManaman (Photo: BT Sport)

Steve McManaman feels that Marco Asensio would be an excellent addition to the Arsenal squad next year as the speculation about the Real Madrid attacker’s future continues.

The 25-year-old attacking midfielder has only started four of Real Madrid’s 12 games in La Liga this season but he has still managed to score three times in 10 appearances in the Spanish top flight in total.

Asensio’s lack of regular playing time at Real Madrid has led to suggestions that he could leave the Spanish capital in search of more first-team opportunities.

Indeed, recent speculation has suggested that Liverpool FC are pondering a move to bring the Spaniard to Anfield in the near future.

Former Real Madrid and Liverpool FC midfielder McManaman, however, believes that Asensio would be a better signing for Arsenal, due partly to the fact that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are approaching the end of their careers.

Writing in his column for horseracing.net, McManaman said: “With his current contract expiring in 2023, Liverpool has been linked in the British press with a move for Real Madrid winger Marcos Asensio, but I think he’s more of an Arsenal type of player.

“Asensio hasn’t played enough at Real Madrid. His reputation was probably better two years ago when he first came onto the scene and scored a bunch of lovely goals, in the Champions League final against Juventus in 2017 in Cardiff and in the Super Cup, a lovely goal, against Barcelona. But since then he’s had injuries and of course Real Madrid aren’t the team that they were four years ago, and his level has come off.

“It all depends on what Asensio himself wants to do and, secondly, what Real Madrid are going to do; whether they’re going to bring [Kylian] Mbappe in, if they’re going to try and bring [Erling] Haaland in as well – and that will determine Asensio’s decision.

“I know lots of players who have been at Real Madrid. Because they’re Spanish, because they love the capital, because they love the lifestyle, because they love playing for a team like Real Madrid, they’d quite happily stay, and stay, and stay, without playing a huge amount of football.

“Asensio maybe one of those players but if [Karim] Benzema’s in front of him, Mbappe’s in front of him, if he thinks Vinicius Jr’s better than him, Rodrygo’s ahead of him, and the opportunity is there to leave, then maybe he will take it.

“If it was a club next year I’d say it would be Arsenal. [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang’s coming to the end of his career – or he’s certainly into his thirties – and with [Alexandre] Lacazette in a similar position and coming to the end of his contract, Asensio could be at a club where he’d probably have more joy of playing.

“If he’s to leave in 18 months, it’s still a long, long way away. But I think he’s an Arsenal type of player, like an [Martin] Odegaard, who’s good on the ball, not necessarily really quick, but turns well, scores goals and makes chances.”

Asensio scored five goals and made two assists in 35 La Liga games for Real Madrid last season. He also netted twice in 11 Champions League appearances for the Spanish side.

Meanwhile, Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe could not hide his delight at scoring his first senior England goal in the 10-0 victory over San Marino on Monday night.

After making his first start for the Three Lions in the World Cup qualifying clash, Smith Rowe said: “I’m buzzing to be honest, but the main focus was qualifying tonight and we’re happy we done that today.

“I think Bukayo crossed it and Tammy flicked it on and I shouted for him and it was a decent finish to be fair so I’ll take it.

“It’s a bit surreal to be honest, its a shame that my parents were unable to be here see it, but I’m sure they’ll be proud.

“Coming away I’ve learnt a lot and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to play. I’m just going to keep working hard and we’ll see what happens.”

Arsenal are now preparing to return to Premier League action with a crunch clash against Liverpool FC at Anfield on Saturday evening.

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