It would be truly wonderful if Malaga’s impressive playmaker, Isco, could stay with Spain’s coastal club to continue his development into a footballer of genuine world-class quality. Unfortunately, that possibility is akin to pigs flying cheerfully past La Rosaleda, Malaga’s seaside home. To be honest, a swift departure to a side that has a little more stability might be the best option for Spain’s hottest football property.
It would have been equally as fantastic if footballers with the ability of Santi Cazorla (Malaga), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Juan Mata (Valencia), David Silva (Valencia) and Kun Agüero (Atletico Madrid) had been able to hang around their respective Spanish clubs a little bit longer, rather than been sold off abroad at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, the financial limitations of Spain’s second-tier sides means that any footballer with real talent will eventually be moved on.
When Malaga signed Isco in the summer of 2011, the purchase was part of an exciting €90m splurge by the club in an attempt to become Spain’s third force; a Real Madrid of the south, perhaps. The then-teenager moved to his hometown club from Valencia for €6m, in a transfer that was seen as bold at the time, but now appears a bargain. In January, a contract adjustment was signed with the footballer seeing the player’s buy-out clause increase to €35m.
Whilst Malaga talked a good game at the announcement of the deal concerning Isco, boasting that it was an important part of the future of the club, nobody was buying it. Isco was going to be the next fatted calf to be sold, following on from Santi Cazorla—who only stayed a Malaga just the one season—and Nacho Monreal who was flogged to Arsenal, just a year and a half into his deal.
Ironically, it was the departure of Cazorla that enabled Isco to become one of the hottest properties in European football. Both footballers flourish in the space behind the strikers, the role adored by those quick feet and even quicker minds. Cazorla’s move to Arsenal last summer saw Isco becoming the biggest brain of the team, and making the move from promising footballer, to one that delivered. Isco has scored six in la Liga so far with two assists, but it was in Malaga’s tremendous Champions League campaign where the Spaniard really whacked a few moles. The playmaker was the driving force behind a run which took the team to the quarterfinals, coming up with three strikes along the way.
These performances now see daily links in the press for Isco with clubs such as Manchester City and Barcelona. In a perfect world, Isco would stay on at Málaga and continue his growth at a club that were Champions League regulars. However, a one-year UEFA ban from European competition and an uncertain direction from the club's owner sees Málaga as an unstable and distinctly unsuitable side for Isco’s personal situation.
Whilst Isco would certainly benefit from a move to bigger and better things, the Spanish league would be the big losers. Should Isco move to Barcelona or even Real Madrid, it would only increase the gap between the top two and everyone else. But this should be of no concern of Isco, a footballer who must only think of his own future and how he can continue on his path of becoming an outstanding footballer.