Analysis: How will Real Madrid cover the potential absence of Marco Asensio?

Marco Asensio and Carlo Ancelotti have both publicly declared that contract negotiations for the Spanish international will begin after the World Cup, but there is no guarantee that they will be successful. The two parties sat down towards the latter stages of last season but were unable to thrash out a deal.

It looked certain that Asensio would depart in the summer and Ancelotti has also admitted he asked to leave at one point. After no viable option presented itself, a frustrated Asensio sat on the bench for much of the opening stages of the season.

However after a conversation with Asensio about his irritation, the player was able to re-channel his anger and improve his performances. It now seems more likely he will stay, as the relationship with the club, the fans and Ancelotti has improved.

It is no surprise that Real Madrid are preparing for both eventualities next season. If they do decide to renew Asensio, the attacking positions will be well-covered. Fichajes.net say that if he does not, Leroy Sane of Bayern Munich will be one of the options evaluated. The German winger has never had a consistent run of form for Bayern and this season Julian Nagelsmann has started him just 13 times of the 19 opportunities he was available for – not enough for Sane.

Would a move for the German winger make sense though? Sane adds pace, one-on-one ability and a technical quality capable of improving any team. A front three composed of Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema and Sane would strike fear into most defences. Ancelotti has also remarked that he sees Rodrygo Goes more as a central striker, which might make him more of a natural option to replace Benzema through the middle.

As is obviously the case for Bayern, Sane would demand a starting role. It seems he is perhaps not as easy to handle as some players, given his frustrations with Pep Guardiola and Nagelsmann. Whether it is Sane or not, adding another big-name forward would likely have a similar impact. Ancelotti may not be keen to disrupt a dressing room atmosphere that he has frequently credited with their success.

Much of their decision-making process may hinge on their belief in Benzema’s fitness. The French forward has been mostly injury-free for much of his career, but has been kept out by fitness issues for most of this season.

If Benzema remains at his level and fit, then recruiting a star name would perhaps slow the development of Rodrygo or even Fede Valverde, who more often than not continues to operate on the right rather than the midfield.

There is still enough evidence to suggest that Sane would make Real Madrid a more technically gifted and dangerous attack than their current assets, if he were to be the one chosen to replace Asensio.

The Spanish forward is still only playing a rotational role for Los Blancos and an addition of the stature of Sane would change the dynamic of Real Madrid, weighting their team towards their attack rather than midfield.

While Rodrygo and Valverde have been excellent during the opening stages of the season, most would say that Los Blancos had a weaker attack on paper than their competitors. Before this season, they tried to recruit Kylian Mbappe, so it should be no surprise if Real Madrid elect to add a star forward to their line-up.

It would risk the harmony of the club of squad as it is, and the setup that has worked so well for Ancelotti. Los Blancos are ruthless in the market though, and tend to operate on a survival of the fittest policy.

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