There’s a fine tradition dating back at least a decade of Chelsea, thanks largely to Abramovich’s millions, being used as the bogeyman to gain leverage in contract and transfer negotiations even at clubs like Real Madrid (Sergio Ramos comes to mind). And even though the Blues are no longer at the top of the financial food chain in world football, that tradition has continued.
The latest example is 21-year-old rising superstar Marco Asensio, who’s apparently “ready to join” Chelsea if he continues to be overlooked (especially in the big games) by Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane. That rumor is from Don Balon via the Express, which makes it about as useful as a poopy-flavored lollipop, but the thing about
lollipops fake news is that it still gets talked about regardless of its veracity and that, more often than not, is the entire point*. Don Balon have made a good living out of inventing thousands of rumors over the last few years and there’s little reason for them to stop doing so. And now that Asensio has been made to respond, they can write follow-up stories, too!
"Morata's case is very different [than mine]. When he returned to Madrid, he wanted to be more important. I am 21, just starting out in this. I always want to take advantage of the playing time I get from the coach, whether 15 or 20 minutes, or when starting, so that I can be counted on for important games in future."
-Marco Asension; source: ESPN
Stepping back from the rumor itself, Asensio’s situation at Real should sound familiar as easy parallels can be drawn with many situations at Chelsea over the years, be that Lukaku or De Bruyne or Musonda or even Morata. It’s the latter that’s sticking in Real’s craw almost as much as De Bruyne sticks in ours, especially given Real’s (relative) struggles in front of goal this season, with Benzema, Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo all in the midst of scoring slumps. Many are seeing Asensio as the answer to their woes (just as many wanted more minutes for Morata), but the kid’s just not getting the big minutes that he would need to actually be the answer.
Could he be the answer? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, Real would be foolish to entertain any ideas of selling Asensio. But if they do want to lighten the competition for minutes, we’ll gladly take Isco off their hands.
* I realize that we’re essentially complicit this way as well, but ignoring it isn’t always a great option either. Hopefully there is some value added in pointing out the fakery.