Picking a Manchester City Starting XI to Include Isco Next Season

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2013

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JUNE 18:  Isco of Spain during the UEFA European U21 Championships Final match between Spain and Italy at Teddy Stadium on June 18, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

When Manchester City hired Manuel Pellegrini, they secured a tactically intelligent coach who is able to combine efficiency with entertainment.

Pellegrini will be tasked with turning Roberto Mancini’s functional City side into an XI infused with flair.

A sure-fire way to introduce imagination to the City set-up would be to beat Real Madrid to the signature of Isco. According to The Guardian, the Spanish playmaker is at the centre of a tug of war between City and Real Madrid.

City will hope the strong bond between Isco and Pellegrini could prove decisive. Speaking about the Chilean coach last week, reported in the same Guardian article, Isco said:

He is a great coach who has done some impressive work at Málaga, as he did at other clubs, and I am sure things will go well for him [in England].

It's true that I know Pellegrini already, I know how he works and he has been fundamental in my career during the two years I have been at Málaga with him.

It's a point in favour that we worked together and that I know how he works but it's not definitive.

If Isco does arrive, he will already be familiar with Pellegrini’s favoured tactical system.

As a rule, Pellegrini prefers to use a South American variation on a 4-4-2 which looks more like a 4-2-2-2. Pellegrini is a strong proponent of strike partnerships and prefers to line up with a deadly duo upfront.

Isco would take his place alongside David Silva as one of the two "interiores" or non-axial playmakers. In this system, these are the players charged with linking the midfield with the attack. They are the chief creators and instigators of attacking moves.

That would mean Yaya Toure dropping into a deeper role alongside new signing Fernandinho.

With doubts over the future of both Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko, question marks remains over who Pellegrini will choose to pair Sergio Aguero with in attack.

According to the BBC, Manchester City are also locked in a tussle with Real Madrid over Napoli striker Edinson Cavani. If Pellegrini can acquire both Isco and Cavani, his 4-2-2-2 system would be complete.

However, Pellegrini is nothing if not flexible.

The Guardian have suggested that the Chilean may be asked by Txiki Begiristain to develop a team to emulate Barcelona’s iconic 4-3-3. If that proves to be the case, Isco would probably push David Silva in to one of the wide attacking roles.

Whichever system Pellegrini ultimately chooses to use, the signing of Isco would instantly add invention and ingenuity to the Manchester City XI.