Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez—Isco for short—is a hot property on the world football market.
The 20-year-old Malaga star made the next step in his promising career by making his international debut for Spain on Wednesday, playing the final 30 minutes against Uruguay in a 3-1 win.
He signed a new contract at Malaga in January to raise his release clause and commit his future to the Andalusian club (via Sky Sports). Sporting director Mario Husillos had this to say:
There have been some informal conversations, as well as more serious talks, with some of the biggest clubs in the world getting in contact every few weeks.
However Isco has been wise, and has never contemplated a renewal with a future sale in mind; a clause in the contract protects us from this situation.
These "big clubs"—reported to be the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid in the media (via Goal.com)—have missed out on a bargain buy. The player's release clause has now been upped from €21 million to €35 million.
So what exactly does Isco do that makes him such a talent?
Everybody knows him by name, but many simply regurgitate a well-rehearsed list on up-and-coming youngsters. Let's take a look at him as a player.
Isco has unbelievable agility and a lightning-fast footballing brain.
His ability to think on his feet allows him to get out of situations that look hopelessly lost, and the vast array of tricks he's shown already make him a completely unpredictable commodity.
Defenders are reluctant to dive in on him in case he slips past them, which in actual fact buys the player even more time to do something ingenious. Twice on the video players stand off him, twice he tears past them with ease.
He uses his body very well, and midfielders who can outfox their opponents without the ball are almost impossible to stop when they see space to run into.
He utilises the free role in Malaga's formation well. Manuel Pellegrini knows that to get the best results, you must let him roam. In turn, that forces Pellegrini into using some slightly more industrious players to keep the ship intact, and Ignacio Camacho and Eliseu have been particularly useful assets in that regard.
Lastly, he has what many promising No. 10s have lacked over the years—an eye for goal.
Some of the finishes he's come up with have been sublime, and most are sourced from his ability to change his body shape so quickly. He's hardly been presented with a multitude of easy chances to take, but he still makes everything look easy.